Early season action. Photo by Eva Gilbert

Referee Graham Swanton was not the most popular man in the locker room after the game, but he cannot be held fully responsible for the indiscipline shown by both groups of players as there were constant demands for action against their opponents.

Bridges could hardly have gotten off to a worse start when Tom Chambers got the better of the otherwise steadfast Billy Irving in the first minute, the following low cross from the left being driven home by Hassan Ibrahiym.

Leo Anderson was close to tipping another effort from Ibrahim, but at the other end a Brannon O’Neill corner was headed in on goal by Camron Lawson only to be headed off by Joe Tennent, again rare slip from the visiting defender.

Michael Wilson made an ambitious attempt from the halfway line that nearly caught Chris Lewington, who then saved an effort from Noel Leighton. But he was easily beaten after 33 minutes when Tennent’s long ball down the left beat Finn O’Mara and let Gianni Ashley clear before firing inside the near post.

The 39th minute brought action at both ends, starting with a good cross from the dangerous Denzel Gayle which was completely missed by Adam Coombes before Anderson stifled Dan Bennett’s follow-up. The game swept the other end with O’Neill providing the perfectly weighted pass to Kevin Rivera to apply a cool finish to give Bridges the halftime lead.

But Cray was level five minutes into the second half when another good cross from Chambers was bundled by Bennett.

After that, however, the game became a starter affair with too many issues and back talk. Anderson held off a free kick from Coombes while Kieron Pamment tested Lewington twice in the space of three minutes.

As bookings grew, a goalmouth scrum from Bridges produced a scrappy CEM TUMKAYA effort that not only proved the winner but also saw Callum Donaghey sent off for his protests and confrontation with the contingent of Cray.

O’Mara made some comments as Donaghey walked away, so it was perhaps ironic when he was also later given a second yellow as an ugly affair ended in a messy fashion.

Bridges Man of the Match – Noel Leighton.

This Saturday the Bridges are home to Haywards Heath ahead of their annual fireworks display, and next Tuesday evening (the 8th) they are home again, with Hythe Town being the visitors this time. Bridges were drawn at home to Brighton and Hove Albion in Round Two of the Sussex Senior Cup.

Bridges Under 18 maintained their 100% record so far this season with an excellent 4-0 win over Lewes last Thursday night. Yassin Ainine had a hat trick and Alex Kaye also scored. But that unbeaten record will be put to the test this Thursday (3 November) when they travel to Portsmouth in the first round proper of the FAYouth Cup.

Cry: C.Lewington, C.Dymond, T.Chambers (B.Williams, 81), C.Tumkaya, D.Gayle, A.Coombes, F.O’Mara, K.Samuels, A.Douglas, D.Bennett, H .Ibrahiym (A.Adeyemo, 70).Unused subtitles. – A.Majek, A.Edgar, J.Anau.Bookings – Ibrahiym (21), O’Mara (44), Samuels (55), Dymond (64), Tumkaya (85). Sent off (2nd yellow) – O’ Mara (89).

Bridges: L.Anderson, B.Irving, G.Ashley (M.Tehe, 90), J.Tennent, C.Donaghey, M.Wilson, K.Rivera, B.O’Neill, N.Leighton, K.Payant, Unused C.Lawson.Subs. – M.Bromage, T.Bromage, K.Ferreria, J.Stone.Bookings – Leighton (35), Tennent (55), Pamment (66), Wilson (75), Donaghey (77). Sent off (2nd yellow) -Donaghey (80).