By Daniel Dyson, UBAFC journalist and second year Politics and French studnet
Bristol were unlucky in their recent match against Bournemouth, but positives can certainly be taken forward.
The opening fixture of the 2018/19 Men’s Western 1A football league, though thrilling, did not go to plan for Bristol 1s as they fell to an undeserved 3-2 loss at the hands of Bournemouth 1s.
After a positive second-place finish last campaign, Bristol enjoyed a successful pre-season, and looked to build on this against a Bournemouth side who finished third last term.
The match started quickly, with Bournemouth’s forwards looking particularly bright and Bristol fell behind in the sixth minute after the ball fell to Bournemouth’s striker, who fired into the top corner.
Bristol were not fazed though and equalised in the ninth minute courtesy of Will Gale. Neat play down the left-wing freed Matt Hinks who squared for Gale who provided a great, low finish into the corner.
1s currently 1-1 home to Bournemouth. Gale with the goal.— UBAFC (@ubafcofficial) October 10, 2018
The game continued in a frantic fashion with both sides trying to break through the others’ defence, which Bournemouth nearly did, but for a great sliding interception by Bristol captain, Jack Haire.
After fifteen minutes, Bournemouth regained the lead via a good finish into the bottom corner, which just beat Bristol keeper, Ross Cusdin, after the ball was given away on the edge of Bristol’s box.
It got worse four minutes later when the ball deceived Cusdin as he was put under pressure from a free-kick, leading to a tap-in to make it 3-1 to Bournemouth.
Following the goal, Bristol upped the tempo and had a flurry of half-chances, with Harry Cruttenden and Ed Mahoney both seeing their dipping, long-range shots fly narrowly over the bar.
Bristol were forced into a substitution as Cam McEwan went down after a forceful challenge and was replaced by Nyv Bogaire.
Bristol pressed heavily for the rest of the first-half, with Bournemouth’s only respite coming when they broke away with danger and were only halted by a outstanding last-ditch tackle by centre-back, Finn Racadio.
The quest for a goal before half-time resulted in a chance for substitute Bogaire, his header nearly looping over the onrushing goalkeeper.
Haire, a constant threat from right-back, tested the keeper with a powerful strike, but Bristol were unable to find a goal before the action-packed first-half ended.
Immediately in the second-half, Bristol’s keeper Cusdin produced a great save after a rapid Bournemouth attack.
Then, the second-half continued how the first-half had ended, Bournemouth sitting very deep, allowing Bristol’s centre-backs to bring the ball out with ease and holding midfielders, Al Harlington and Mahoney, to dictate the play.
Several Bristol attempts to carve out chances were thwarted but man of the match Will Gale beat his man on the left-wing and had a shot saved at the near post, before being subbed off for Toby Thomas ten minutes into the half.
Yet more chances came after nice work on the edge of the box by Al Harlington, who fed Haire, who put a dangerous, low cross into the box, but numerous Bristol shots were blocked by desperate Bournemouth defending.
Toby Thomas looked bright when he came on and saw his shot went just wide of the far post as Bristol struggled to find a final ball.
Enter the final 25 minutes and after a Bristol corner was cleared, towering centre-half Bertie Lloyd decided to stay up and was rewarded when the ball was worked wide to Hinks, who deliciously whipped it in for Lloyd to show striker-like instincts to convert at the back post, for Hinks’ second assist.
3-2. Bertie. COME ON BRISTOL— UBAFC (@ubafcofficial) October 10, 2018
Lloyd’s goal was met with huge celebration from the UBAFC faithful, and straight away winger Jasper Harlington, who was lively and creative throughout, stung the hands of the keeper before Bournemouth went up the other end and forced another great save out of Cusdin.
A tactical switch with 15 minutes remaining saw Mahoney, whose work-rate was sublime, come off for Gabe Smith, who went into centre-back while Racadio was pushed up into centre-midfield.
In the final 10 minutes, Bournemouth sat incredibly deep, but Bristol still managed to fashion chances, as Thomas shot narrowly wide and Jasper Harlington saw a fantastic free-kick sail just over.
Despite their best efforts and sending Lloyd up front for the final few minutes, Bristol could not convert their pressure into a goal and will be disappointed to have lost to an inferior Bournemouth side.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of positives. The ball was kept expertly, and Bristol’s formation meant Bournemouth were unable to create many chances, with the three goals conceded being very fortuitous.
Bristol will hope to fare better in their next game, away to Cardiff 1s on Wednesday 17th October.
Featured image: Ed Hanton
Bristol 1s certainly have what it takes to bounce back with a win against Cardiff 1s - let us know what you think the score will be!