Boro keeper feared he might 'never play again'By Jon Couch
February 05, 2013
BRAVE Craig Bradshaw feared his career might be over after suffering a horror leg injury in Farnborough's game at Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.
The goalkeeper had to be stretchered off just 15 minutes into the match following a nasty collision with Angels striker Nathan Green.
Medics suspected immediately that Bradshaw had broken his leg, but further tests later revealed the 28-year-old had just suffered severe bone bruising.
It means, incredibly, that Bradshaw could be back in action in between four to six weeks' time.
But the popular Boro stopper has revealed the moment he believed his football career had come to an end, fearing a repercussion of a similar incident two years ago in which he almost lost his leg.
"It was like deja-vu, a horrible moment," he explained.
"I was diagnosed with Compartment Syndrome, severe swelling in the lower leg, but after surgery at least it meant I can play football again.
"I must admit I feared the worst on Saturday, it was all a bit of a shock. I remember lying there thinking I wouldn't play again, I was convinced it was game over.
"The pain was worse than before. Just like last time though my leg tightened up and I had no feeling in my toes.
"Lucie [physio Lucie Aulsberry] and [chief executive] Steve Duly were fantastic in looking after me in the changing room before the ambulance arrived and took me to the hospital.
"Results there proved inconclusive although they thought I had chipped a bone in my right leg, so I went for a second opinion at the Royal Surrey back home and they confirmed to me that it wasn't a break or the Compartment Syndrome flaring up again. I was very lucky really."
One thing is for certain though, Bradshaw is one tough cookie and it will take a lot more than a nasty bang on the leg to prevent him slipping on the Farnborough No.1 jersey and doing what he loves most.
In fact, playing through the pain barrier is almost second nature to the former Walton Casuals and Leatherhead stopper, and although he has been told to lay low for four to six weeks by doctors, Bradshaw is hoping to be back in action in half that time.
"I'm desperate to play," he said after limping through a day at work as a newspaper distributor, supported by a David Beckham-style protective boot.
"The hospital said four to six weeks, but in my opinion I'll be ready in two.
"Spencer [Day, manager] knows I'm mad and leaves me to it really. He assumes I'll play on, injured or not. I hate missing games."
In the meantime, however, responsibility between the sticks rests on the young shoulders of No.2 Jamie Norris - but Bradshaw reckons the team's fortunes are in good hands.
"I train with Jamie every week and he has a lot of ability. You forget he's just 21 years old but he deserves his chance. You could say the concern is his lack of games but it's a double-edged sword, he has to play to gain the experience.
"Having Jamie playing well is good for me. I want to be able to come back and do well to get my starting place back.
"I know Reece Connolly fancies himself a bit between the sticks - although he'd be too worried about breaking a nail - and our coach Simon Gardener too, I'll make sure it doesn't come to that."
Substitute keeper Norris certainly played his part in another crucial away win on Saturday, making two or three key saves as Boro held on for a 3-2 success at Longmead Stadium.
Connolly put Boro in front just four minutes after Bradshaw's enforced departure, slotting home from close range after a clever back heel from Nic Ciardini.
And the same players combined again on 32 minutes when more good work from Ciardini handed the former Aldershot Town striker his 12th league goal of the season.
Frannie Collin halved the deficit for Tonbridge four minutes later with a fine free kick from just outside the box, but Dave Tarpey restored the two-goal cushion 11 minutes into the second half with a cool finish from a tight angle.
Mark Lovell cut the advantage again 18 minutes from time but Boro held on for the points to set them up nicely for Tuesday night's (February 5) visit of Bath City to Cherrywood Road.