Manager Matty Holmes found the right balance in sending out a team to win the game, rest key personnel, and give game time to squad players as goals by Luke Burbidge, Luke Holmes and Curtis Young at the Koolpak Stadium saw the Magpies reach the Dorset Senior Cup final for a second season running.
With Sam Bayston, Carl Pettefer and Ashley Pope cup-tied, and Gerard Benfield, Toby Holmes and James Stokoe rested, Manager Holmes gave starts to Chad Collins, Kieran Douglas, and Aidan Shepherd.
Wimborne came out in attacking mode. On 2 minutes Billy Maybury hit a brilliant through ball for Curtis Young on the right, but the winger was flagged off-side. In fact, that was the first of three off-side decisions for the hosts in the first 8 minutes as they made clear their intention to play balls behind the visitors’ defence. Franklyn Clarke flashed a ball across the face of the Bridport goal on 9 minutes, before Burbidge tried a speculative drive from wide on the left, and Shepherd ran onto Young’s flick before Bridport keeper Jason Hutchings made the first of many good saves from his angled shot.
But it wasn’t all one-way traffic, and 20 minutes in, the visitors enjoyed a good spell. The skillful and speedy Edward Butcher, on the left wing, was a constant source of danger, and the home defence were grateful to scramble away his cross from the by-line.
However, the opening goal was scored by Wimborne on 26 minutes from a well-worked corner. Burbidge played the ball to Maybury, instead of an expected shot, he returned it to the winger who came inside and beat Hutchings at his near post.
Bridport responded well to going behind. Three minutes later Butcher raced on to a defensive slip but blasted wild and wide when one-on-one with Collins. But he had his revenge on 32 minutes when, coming in from the left wing, he beat the keeper from just inside the box with a sumptuous shot to equalise.
As play flowed from end to end, Bridport’s centre-forward Mark Salter flashed a header just wide, and Ben Morris had Collins scampering across his goal. Lee Francis was playing balls into the inside-right channel for Shepherd. From one of these the youngster drew a sprawling save from Hutchings. And then, on 37 minutes, racing on to another well-weighted ball from Francis, Shepherd cut the ball back for Luke Holmes to head home in the goal area to put the hosts ahead again.
Then, just before the break, Wimborne nearly increased their lead. Burbidge’s corner was headed back across the goal to Clarke but his header was cleared off the line.
Wimborne started the second half brightly. The ever-willing Shepherd forced a corner after chasing a through ball, Burbidge crossed from the by-line, Young had a shot deflected wide, Douglas was just off target with a header, and Hutchings saved Burbidge’s low shot. Bridport had an effort cleared off the line before Wimborne scored their third on 54 minutes. Luke Holmes played Young through with a peach of a pass, and although Hutchings half-saved his effort, the ball rebounded off the winger and into the net.
With Burbidge in full flow, further goals seemed inevitable. But the Western League side dug deep, and it was they who scored the final goal on 71 minutes. After a Bees’ corner was half-cleared, Morris rifled a 20-yard shot past Collins via the inside of the post.
Chances came at both ends, but none changed the scoreline. Sam Davidson headed wide from a corner, Burbidge’s inviting cross found no takers, Davidson had two more decent attempts – a header cleared off the line, and a shot over the bar, and Shepherd was thwarted when one-on-one with the keeper. At the other end, Butcher’s lob over Collins went inches wide, and Salter had a shot cleared off the line.
After a game of 5 goals, 44 goal attempts, and 14 corners, it was Wimborne who claimed their place in the final against Poole. Bridport made light of the two-league difference between the teams and played their part in an entertaining game.
Wimborne: Collins, Francis, Lee (Penny 63), Davidson, Douglas (Hall 85), Clarke, Maybury, Young, Shepherd, Burbidge, L.Holmes. Unused subs: Benfield, Traynor, D.Holmes
Report by Graham Dunn
Download the Matchday Programme here: Bridport 23 March 2019 v2 compact