Seasiders survive scare to march on

Chris Jenkinson goal v Bottesford Town
Chris Jenkinson goal v Bottesford Town

It was not always plain sailing, but The Seasiders made it 15 wins from 18 league games under Curtis Woodhouse by seeing off a threatening Bottesford Town outfit.

Bridlington raced into a two-goal lead but when the visitors drew level before half-time, there were echoes of the game against Hemsworth Miners Welfare last month.

Bridlington Town v Bottersford Town

Bridlington Town v Bottersford Town

On that day, the away side scored twice after the break, but Woodhouse’s men were wary of falling for the same sucker punch twice and stepped up a gear in the second half.

Bottesford gave a debut to left-back Mike Thompson, who had started the season impressively at Queensgate, but there was no sign of X Factor singer and I’m A Celebrity contestant Jake Quickendedn, who is on their books.

Town captain Tom Fleming returned after suspension, replacing Tim Taylor, who was sent off in the previous game against Pickering and was named among the substitutes.

The reshuffle meant Bridlington operated with a three-man defence in the opening 45 minutes and it was a formation they never really looked comfortable with.

Bridlington Town v Bottersford Town

Bridlington Town v Bottersford Town

The Poachers had the first sight of goal, a quick counter-attack ending with Town keeper James Hitchcock getting down quickly to stop Danny Boulton’s low effort.

At the other end, Joel Sutton’s fizzing half-volley went the wrong side of the post as things got off to entertaining start.

Proceedings livened up further with three goals in seven minutes.

Bridlington took the lead on 12 minutes. Jack Walters delivered a corner from the left and defender Chris Jenkinson powerfully headed home his second goal of the season.

Bridlington Town v Bottersford Town

Bridlington Town v Bottersford Town

The lead was doubled soon afterwards, thanks to a piece of magic by Jamie Forrester.

The ball deflected into his path and he showed tremendous control and then sent a stunning shot into the top corner from 25 yards, which goalkeeper Leigh Herrick only watched and admired like the rest of the 147 spectators.

Bottesford could have gone into their shell and adopted a damage-limitation mentality, or they could have simply crumbled.

Instead, they showed they weren’t just at Queensgate to be another statistic in Bridlington’s impressive winning run.

They exposed The Seasiders’ new defensive set-up down their left-hand side and it needed Alex Knaggs to make a crucial block.

But on 19 minutes, Town’s offside trap failed and Danny Boulton was allowed a clear run on goal. He jinked around Hitchcock and rolled the ball into the empty net.

Bridlington recovered and their prolific strike force had chance to extend the lead, but Brett Agnew snatched a shot and sent it wide after a smart reverse pass by Fleming.

Then, Sutton was off target with a low drive from 20 yards.

Backed by a vocal away following, Bottesford’s adventurous nature paid off just before half time.

Danny Gibbons delivered a free kick into the Bridlington penalty area and centre-half Oliver Donald rose highest and looped a header beyond Hitchcock and into the far corner of the net.

Woodhouse and his assistnat Ian Ashbee questioned his side’s effort and desire at half-time, and they got the response they desired.

Agnew was blocked off by Lee Ridley with what would have been a high tackle even in rugby, but Sutton’s free kick from the edge of the area just dropped the wrong side of the post.

He made no mistake on 63 minutes though. With Nick McNamara pulling the strings in midfield, Sutoon was sent clear and confidently fired across Herrick to restore Town’s lead.

Bottesford’s spirit was not broken though and they could have equalised again immediately.

Striker Paul Grimes had to twist his body awkwardly to head a right-wing cross, but he was unable to keep his effort under the crossbar.

Bridlington were back to a four-man defence and looked more assured, and going forward they could have added a fourth when tenacious work by Fleming set up a chance for Forrester but he couldn’t repeat his trick from the first half and his shot was straight at Herrick.

The game was wrapped up on 75 minutes when Agnew made it 4-2. Andy Norfolk had spent more time on defensive duties than he is used to, but he got forward down the right and with everyone expecting him to try a first-time shot, he instead squared to ball to the Scotsman who smashed home from 12 yards.

A 30th goal of the season for Agnew but his hopes of finishing the campaign as the leading scorer could be dealt a double blow.

He begins a four-match suspension when Bridlington return to action on Tuesday evening, with fifth-placed Albion Sports visiting Queensgate, kick off 7.45pm.

But there could be more bad news in his quest to be the top marksman.

Clipstone have resigned from the NCEL Premier Division and Town’s number nine hit a hat-trick against the Nottinghamshire side last month.

Twenty-seven-goal strike partner Sutton could see the penalty he netted in the home game against Clipstone chalked off.