Bridge United A 1
Fort Rangers 0
A LAST GASP James Bolger goal strengthened Bridge United’s hopes of beating relegation.
The defender was in the right place at the right time, breaking free from his marker to control a Cathal English corner before firing home an injury-time goal that denied Fort Rangers a share of the spoils on Sunday morning.
That goal, which turned one point into three, saw United jump out of the Premier Division two relegation spots, climbing over Evergreen B. The Goresbridge men have 11 points, two more than Evergreen B. They are level on points with another city side, Freebooters B, but have two games more to play.
The result was agony for Fort, who were within seconds of grabbing a well-earned point in what would have been the first 0-0 of the Premier Division season. They are not out of the mire themselves, lying just two points clear of Bridge and ’Booters B.
Despite being at the wrong end of the table, both sides were intent on playing good, attacking football in Goresbridge. Fort were first to threaten, Edward Nugent clipping the bar with a dangerous tenth minute cross, but Bridge should have scored within a matter of minutes themselves.
Conor English did the damage, intercepting a ball and dashing down the right before firing in a low diagonal ball, but Sean Murphy stabbed it over from close range.
With James Bolger and Colin Madden doing well at the back the hosts kept on the front foot for most of the opening half. Stephen Byrne pulled most of the strings in midfield, but a strong display from Padraig Murphy ensured Fort coped with all that Bridge threw at them.
And when the Fort defence couldn’t cope, they had goalkeeper Davy Buggy to thank for keeping them on level terms. The netminder sprang into action on the last seconds of first half normal time with the save of the game.
Tom Huff had the chance for Bridge, showing great footwork to skip inside Tony Moran’s challenge before unleashing a real screamer from the left.
The ball dipped and swerved, arrowing towards the top right corner and a certain goal, but Buggy pulled off a tremendous save, tipping the ball over with a strong right-handed stop.
A change of tactics saw Fort take over the offensive duties on the restart. Using low quick balls down the flanks Edward Nugent and Tony Moran were able to run at the hosts, who found themselves defending much deeper than before.
Nugent was at the heart of one such move, linking up well with John Cahill down the left before whipping in a menacing cross, but there was no-one there to add the finishing touch.
Bridge broke free long enough to make some chances of their own before the hour. Full-back Cathal English had a good shot from distance well held by Buggy, while Marty Dalton saw a glancing header spin over the bar from just a few yards out.
Fort upped the tempo when Emmet Nugent was introduced to the fray. On 75 minutes he flicked on a long ball to Liam Forristal, who cut inside the box and fired off a low shot, but Bridge ’keeper Zak Shermar stuck out a leg to turn the ball away to safety.
With time ticking down it looked like both sides would have to settle for a point but Bridge, who needed the win, went for broke. Once again English broke from the back and bore down on goal, but his low curling shot was pushed out for a corner by Buggy.
The real drama was yet to come. Fort survived the first corner but paid the price from the second, as Bolger shook off his marker to bag the precious winner.
Bridge United A: Zak Shermar, William Hennessy, Cathal English, Stephen Byrne, James Bolger, Colin Madden, Conor English, Tom Huff, Martin Bambrick, Sean Murphy (Paul Kennedy, 86 mins), Marty Dalton (James Barcoe, 86 mins).
Fort Rangers: Davy Buggy, Padraig Murphy, John Cahill, Dermot Ryan, Jim Nugent, Liam Forristal, Padraig Forristal, John Brett, Edward Nugent (Emmet Nugent, 64 mins), Tony Moran, Kenny Morris.
Referee: Ollie Falsey.