Smith strikes to complete Mendip's Bristol hat-trick
Bristol & West A 2 Mendip Men's 1st XI 3
Having already conquered the B and C teams during their current campaign, Mendip made the familiar trip to The Ridings School in Winterbourne to add Bristol & West's A side to their conquests.
The home side started strongly and looked to impose their authority on the match, quickly settling into their slick passing style. However, Mendip worked hard to close down and hastle their opponents and neither team was able to dominate.
Bristol shaded the early exchanges and gradually began to get some joy down their left, forcing Mendip to tinker with their line-up as Nick Pang dropped deeper, Ian Young was pushed forward and Nick Potter moved to the right.
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The game developed into a competitive midfield battle and frustration crept in as Mendip felt they were on the wrong end of a few dubious decisions, eventually resulting in them being reduced to ten men just before half-time.
Fuelled by a sense of injustice, Mendip immediately went on the offensive and Steve Smith worked some space in the circle to set up Hampo for the opening goal.
Bristol showed no signs of losing their self-belief and put Mendip under pressure, earning an equaliser from a well-worked free hit.
Sensing the game was there to be won, the hosts did not relent and Mendip man of the match Pang was called into action more and more. He seemed to be able to snuff out everything, only to be instrumental in Bristol's second goal as a hit from outside the circle took a wicked deflection off his stick and found the net.
A stunned Mendip had to regroup quickly and Pang turned playmaker, while Smith niggled away up front and won some crucial short corners. Mendip's endeavours were eventually rewarded from one of these set-pieces when Smith slammed home a well-placed low shot.
The visitors kept up the pressure and Smith stubbornly refused to be dispossessed. Surrounded by defenders with his back to goal, he dug out a reverse stick shot to win the match.
Bristol did not give up and battled gamely to the end but Mendip saw out the victory.
On Saturday, Mendip host Westbury & UB C.
Mendip A were 4-2 winners at home to Westbury & UB E on Saturday, keeping them in touch with West Central 3 pace-setters North Somerset B and Westbury F.
This weekend they travel to Old Bristolians D, who are one place behind them in the table.