SDFL Division Four

Dittisham United 2

Kingsbridge and Kellaton limped past the division’s basement side Dittisham United in a hard-fought five-goal encounter at Mal­borough.

The match started in breathless fashion as Elliot Bradbury broke away down the right flank before pulling the ball back to Dom Far­leigh inside the box, but his first-time shot was blocked.

It took just 30 seconds for that chance to come and just minutes until Kingsbridge got the first goal of the game.

Farleigh collected the ball just inside the Dittisham half and punted the ball past his marker to take him straight in on goal.

The defender could­n’t get close to Farleigh and the striker dispatched the ball in to the far corner of the net to give Kingsbridge the lead.

The home side had hoped that the goal would open the floodgates, but Dittisham stood firm and Kella­ton’s grip on the game faded as the match wore on.

Fortunately, while Kingsbridge wavered they had a stern defence to call upon.

In Phil Thomas the Kings had a full-back who was playing in the kind of form where he could tackle a young Pele and the defender was resolute as Ditti­sham grew in to the game.

When you added the rest of the defence of Paul Dixon, Gareth Head and Ben Smith in to the mix, Dittisham were always going to struggle to create chances.

It may have felt like the match was getting away from K and K, but they still seemed the more likely side to score.

Jon Blewitt and Alex Thomas were willing runners from midfield and Farleigh’s pace on the break could always trigger a defensive meltdown for the away side.

The second goal of the game came from Farleigh as he once again got the better of his ageing marker.

Bradbury and Far­leigh linked up down the right before the latter firmly side-footed the ball inside the near post and in to the net.

Kingsbridge continued to toil in attack and got their third of the day from roving midfielder Alex Thomas. Andrew Tildesley, Bradbury and Farleigh connected well down the right flank before crossing to Thomas at the back post.

The midfielder’s first effort was palmed away by the ‘keeper but Thomas reacted quickest to jab the rebound in to the roof of the net to give Kingsbridge a three-goal lead heading towards the half-time whistle.

Just before the referee could blow up for the end of the first half, Dittisham got a lifeline in the game. The Uni­ted winger got to the by-line and his scuffed cross dropped inside the goal; despite the best efforts of Ben Smith on the line.

The second half got much messier than the first, with the game certainly falling in to the ‘not one for the neutral’ category. Needless fouls were the order of the day and Kings­bridge’s passing, which had served them well in the first half, seemed to desert them for the second period.

Kingsbridge had their goalkeeper Will Pike to thank several times in the second half as the shot-stopper was quick off his line to deal with United’s probing through balls.

The away side made the game the nervy affair it threatened to be as they got their second 10 minutes from the end.

The nippy Dittisham striker instinctively struck from the edge of the box and the ball evaded Will Pike’s grasp to put Kellaton’s hearts firmly in their mouths for the end of the game.

Kingsbridge saw the game out for the crucial three points and Andy Thomas’ side now sit at an impressive third place in the division four table.