Bonn ap­petite – Josh the clincher in tasty col­li­sion

Surrey Herald/News - - FOOTBALL -

Ryman Di­vi­sion 1 South Walton & Her­sham 1 Three Bridges 0

A FINE op­por­tunist goal by man of the match Josh Bon­nett sealed Walton & Her­sham’s sec­ond win in five days, eas­ing them into a much more se­cure midtable place, writes John Whit­bread.

It was not just his goal, but also Bon­nett’s tire­less work-rate that in­spired his col­leagues in a feisty af­fair that saw two men sent off, a penalty missed, and eight min­utes of nerve-jan­gling stop­page time. The game should have been set­tled long be­fore then, with Swans’ only fault be­ing their in­abil­ity to take a host of scor­ing chances. Mean­while, hosts’ Gary Ross did not have a real save to make through­out the match. But that was only be­cause sev­eral on-tar­get ef­forts were de­nied by de­ter­mined de­fend­ers throw­ing them­selves in front of the ball to block, head or kick away. The only blot on the land­scape was the un­savoury in­ci­dent right on half time when striker An­drew Mensah was sent off for his sec­ond book­able of­fence when he re­tal­i­ated to a stamp just out­side the Three Bridges area. Then as he was sent off, a fu­ri­ous Mensah landed a right han­der on one of the op­po­nents milling around him. “We will deal with the mat­ter se­ri­ously,” said man­ager Tony Reid. “An­drew let him­self and the club down by get­ting him­self sent off. “I know all too well that as a striker you have to get used to de­fend­ers stamp­ing on your an­kles and get­ting away with it. The only way to re­spond is to pick your­self up and score a goal. “He should not have raised his hand to slap an op­po­nent, but as he was walk­ing off one of their play­ers tapped him on the head to wind him up. “Even the ref­eree rep­ri­manded their player for an­tag­o­nis­ing him.” Reid was much hap­pier with his team’s re­ac­tion to the send­ing off and their to­tal com­mit­ment and im­proved or­gan­i­sa­tion. “I know this team will cre­ate plenty of chances,” he said. “But we had to learn to be much tighter all round, es­pe­cially in the open­ing 15 min­utes. The boys are now de­fend­ing re­ally well in ev­ery area and are bat­tling so hard for each other, putting their bod­ies on the line. “I was re­ally happy to see Josh get a big round of ap­plause when he came off near the end. “He had come knock­ing on my door after not be­ing in­volved in the early games and now his chance has come he has taken it re­ally well. He has earned a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a tem­per­a­men­tal player, but he has re­ally turned it around this year and he ran him­self into the ground.” Bon­nett be­gan the game fir­ing just wide be­fore Mensah was un­for­tu­nate not to be awarded a penalty when he ap­peared to be brought down just inside the area. Ver­non Fran­cis and An­drew Juett both missed good chances be­fore Mensah had a low drive well saved by Ke­iron Thorp. But in the 43rd minute Three Bridges were given a penalty when Mensah and Alan Tait tum­bled to­gether in the box, only for Jamie Crown to ham­mer the spot kick wide.

Frus­tra­tion clearly played a part in Mensah’s dis­missal just a few min­utes later, but the home team had to wait only un­til the 52nd minute for Three Bridges to be re­duced to 10 men when Tony Gar­rod got his march­ing or­ders for a sec­ond book­able of­fence, scyth­ing down Louis Clark as he at­tempted to make a clear­ance. By then Walton had taken the lead when Bon­nett pounced on a hashed clear­ance by Thorp and jinked past two de­fend­ers be­fore fir­ing low into the right cor­ner of the net. Rogers did well to pre­vent Swans adding to their score, with fine saves to deny An­dre Scar­lett and sub­sti­tute Louis GlacePalmer who spent the fi­nal 15 min­utes tor­ment­ing Three Bridges’ de­fend­ers.

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