East Grinstead Town 4, Three Bridges 0: Faili’s men crash out of FA Trophy

Football: Ryman League South Division: Three Bridges FC Manager Paul Fali. Pic Steve Robards  SR1626602 SUS-161209-133319001
Football: Ryman League South Division: Three Bridges FC Manager Paul Fali. Pic Steve Robards SR1626602 SUS-161209-133319001

When Alan Hansen made his infamous comment that “you can’t win anything with kids”, Alex Ferguson and Manchester United proved him wrong.

But it’s hard to see Paul Faili and his Bridges babes from achieving a similar remarkable story despite encouraging displays by the likes of Michael Wilson and Darren Helsdown.

Bridges couldn’t be faulted for effort, but East Grinstead - containing a few youngsters themselves - always looked the more likely winners and they kept the visitors’ keeper Martin Grant busy for much of the afternoon in this F.A.Trophy encounter. He tipped over a good strike by Travis Gregory following a quick corner and was also grateful to see a header from Noel Mbo disallowed for offside.

But Grant could do nothing to prevent the Wasps taking a 17th minute lead when Gregory’s low cross was tucked home by MBO. But the game then drifted fairly aimlessly for much of the first half thanks largely due to some solid if sometimes ugly defending with the experience of the returning John Lansdale and Dan Mobsby keeping Bridges in contention.

The second half opened with former Bridges favourite Marcus Elliott forcing Grant to a very good save, and soon after Mitchell Clark cleared off the line. A good strike by Mbo hit the far post, and the pressure finally paid off after 66 minutes when Elliott tapped in from Mbo’s low cross.

Grant then denied Gregory but was caught by Elliott soon after, and probably would have come off through injury had Bridges had a goalkeeping substitute. At the other end, Grinstead stopper Chris Haigh couldn’t have wished for a quieter afternoon with only an ambitious effort from Mitchell Casselman causing a moment’s slight concern.

With the Bridges youngsters visibly tiring in the latter stages, the home side wrapped things up with two further goals in the 81st and 87th minutes. Firstly, substitute TASHI-JAY KWAYIE beat the offside trap on the right and finished coolly, and then a nice cross by home captain Callum Emptage was firmly met by the head of GREGORY. And they almost added a last minute fifth as a header by Kwayie hit the post.

Bridges: M.Grant, S.Hayles (R.Smith, 73), S.Gallagher, M.Wilson, D.Mobsby, J.Lansdale, D.Toussaint (R.Burchell, 51), M.Clark, T.Cook, M.Casselman (R.Fernandes, 66), D.Helsdown.

Unused Subs: R.Carvalho, D.Kaboggoza.

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