Bridlington Town 5
Winterton Rangers 1
NCEL Premier Division
A GOAL after just 16 seconds set Bridlington Town up for a comfortable win over Winterton Rangers on Tuesday evening.
Josh Greening forged past the shell-shocked visitors straight from the kick off and swept a low shot into the bottom corner for the first of his evening’s hat-trick.
There was a poignant celebration too as the players gathered by the dugouts and pointed skywards, in memory of Ken Knight, whose ashes had been laid to rest there before kick off.
The striker added a second midway through the first half. A deflected cross seemed to be spinning safely into the hands of Leigh Herrick, but as the keeper waited for the ball, Greening attacked it and nudged it over the line, despite the best efforts of Robbie Spence.
A third arrived on 36 minutes, which was harsh on Winterton who had enjoyed good spells of pressure in the opening period.
But when Nathan Cook’s long range shot was blocked by a defender, the ball fell invitingly for Chris Batchelor and he supplied an excellent first-time left-foot finish to put the game beyond doubt.
Winterton had given the hosts a scare at times. Blake Freeman should have done better from six yards out when the score was only 1-0, but he missed the target after a free-kick had been curled into the danger area.
Then, just before the break, Mark Wilberforce produced a breathtaking save, one of the best you will see at this level.
Robbie Start’s trickery opened up room on the right flank, and Dan Hagan’s header loooked to be in but the Town keeper clawed it out one-handed from behind him.
The second half saw Bridlington continue to blend skill with strength with some excellent passing, but also a steel in the tackle that can be lacking at times.
Greening completed his hat-trick on 57 minutes. Nathan Cook’s long pass tempted Herrick out of his area, but again Greening beat him to the ball, waltzed around him and rolled the ball into the unguarded net.
A flurry of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game somewhat, and it was not the one-way traffic the scoreline might suggest.
The visitors continued to ask questions and got their reward with a quarter of the match remaining. Freeman tried his luck from 20 yards and the ball took a huge deflection off Tom Fleming and diverted past a helpless Wilberforce.
A fightback looked unlikely but any thoughts were definitely killed off 10 minutes later, when sub Craig Hogg beat Herrick from a narrow angle.
There was still time for Rangers sub Lee Danysz to head against the base of the post and Wilberforce reacted to beat away the rebound.
A disappointing crowd of 98 had been treated to a decent game of football. Town looked close to their best in possession at times and thoroughly deserved the points, but Winterton deserved credit for their attitude.
They competed to the end, stuck to their passing philosophy and belied their league position.
Referee Dave Storrie is worth a mention too, he kept his cards in his pocket and was hardly noticeable.
Man of the match: Josh Greening