AFC Bridgnorth were left kicking themselves as they wasted a glorious opportunity to capture three away points, squandering a two goal lead before eventually succumbing to a 4-3 defeat to Ingles. Whilst it would be unfair not to credit the hosts for their part in the turnaround, the fact is simply that the second half showing from Bridgnorth was woeful and all the goals conceded could have easily been prevented.
Things started well for Bridgnorth, Charlie Swingwood rising unopposed to head home a Calum Hill corner in the fifth minute. Ingles were looking lethargic, Bridgnorth winning almost every second ball and looking dangerous on the attack, particularly down the right as the fleet-footed Matt Dean and Elliott Lee doubled up on the opposition full back. Woody Norman had a weak header easily saved and Luke Morris was denied by a tight offside call before Swingwood was released on the inside left by a Chris Sterling flick on, but he attempted to use the outside of his foot to shoot and missed the target. Ingles had merely hit aimless long balls forward thus far; all comfortably dealt with by the Bridgnorth defence with one exception that saw Harry Walker booked for bringing down his man. Ingles then lofted the ball over the bar in the 21st minute following a lapse in concentration at the back before Bridgnorth ‘keeper Ryan Cheshire pulled off a stunning save to tip a dipping volley wide a few minutes later. Bridgnorth doubled the lead in the 28th minute, Swingwood winning the ball on the left and driving down the wing to the edge of the box before cutting the ball inside for Morris to roll his man in the box and fire into the bottom far corner. Bridgnorth now simply needed to manage the game, a corner headed over by Ingles in the 33rd minute should have acted as a warning but to no avail as Ingles pulled one back in the 37th minute; a ball down the left should have been put out for a throw in but Walker attempted to shield the ball and was robbed, the Ingles man then getting to the byline and squaring to the back post for a scrappy finish. Bridgnorth almost responded immediately, Lee getting into the box on the right to fire a shot off the bar and Sterling having an effort blocked on the line in the final minute of the half after Swingwood closed down the ‘keeper to steal the ball and cross. HT 2-1 AFC Bridgnorth.
The second half quickly became a nightmare for Bridgnorth as Ingles equalised after just three minutes; a throw into a crowded Bridgnorth box was partially cleared but the follow up cross was not closed down, Cheshire coming off his line too late, leaving him in no-man’s-land and the ball was headed home. Bridgnorth began looking nervous in possession, guilty of repeatedly hitting aimless and predictable straight balls forward that were easily headed away by the Ingles defence. Ingles took the lead in the 55th minute, a simple ball forward bisecting the Bridgnorth backline, allowing a forward to run through unopposed and loft the ball over Cheshire. Bridgnorth were now in panic mode, substitutions and a switch in formation doing nothing to change the direction of the match as Bridgnorth began to look leggy and devoid of ideas. Ingles should have added to their lead, Cheshire making another excellent save as Bridgnorth failed to scramble away a corner, before Ingles shot over again with five minutes to go. The poorest goal conceded by Bridgnorth would come in the 88th minute, a route-one ball from the ‘keeper allowed to bounce for an Ingles player to nod the ball past Cheshire on the edge of the box and into the net. Almost ironically, Bridgnorth would pull a goal back with their only shot of the half, substitute Kassim Hussain turning the ball into the bottom corner from just inside the box when a throw in dropped his way. FT 4-3 Ingles.
Bridgnorth will look to regroup and get back to winning ways with the visit of Wolverhampton Sporting Community to Crown Meadow on Wednesday 23rd August.