OUCH! Keeper breaks leg - and plays on

BRANTHAM Athletic keeper Ryan Bedingfield played 15 minutes of last weekend’s 5-0 hammering of Histon with a broken leg, manager Tony Hall has revealed.

Bedingfield had no idea he had cracked a bone in the back of his knee during last Saturday’s Ridgeons League Premier Division match after a late tackle which saw a Histon forward sent off.

Despite concerns from the Brantham bench, Bedingfield played on before informing Hall two days later that his leg was in plaster and he might need an operation.

Hall said: “It was just unbelievable. When he got hurt, our physio Sam Gedny went out to treat him and he said he was fine to carry on. Sam was worried and said we should take him off but he was still out there kicking the ball 70 yards.

“Then I got a text on Monday from Ryan saying his leg was in plaster as he had cracked a bone in the back of his knee. He is hoping to have the plaster off next week but he might still need an operation.”

While Athletic have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes of late, on the back of three consecutive wins, Bedingfield’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time - with league leaders Dereham Town visiting the Brantham Leisure Centre tomorrow.

In an interesting sub-plot, the match pits the league’s top scorer, Dereham’s 19-goal man Danny Beaumont, against last season’s Division One hot-shot Ollie Mann.

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The Brantham frontman hit 34 goals during Athletic’s promotion campaign and has since answered any concerns about stepping up a level with 10 goals in his 11 games this year - having been sidelined with glandular fever at the start of the season.

Without their talismanic striker, Brantham won just one league game in their first 15 matches. Now Mann is back and firing on all cylinders, coinciding with consecutive away wins at Felixstowe and Walton and Histon Reserves and a midweek victory against Ipswich Wanderers in the Ridgeons League Challenge Cup.

That said, Dereham will offer a very different challenge having lost just once all season - they are the team that everyone else will have to catch.

Hall said: “They are top of the league because they have a very good frontline while their defensive record speaks for itself. It is going to be a very tough game but we are buzzing at the moment after three wins on the trot. We are a young squad but we are going to give it a go against Dereham.”

In Bedingfield’s absence, Hall will once again turn to 18-year-old Ross Welton who played in the cup victory after some “exceptional” performances in the reserves.

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