Axmouth in double header
THERE was no action for Seaton Town on Saturday and they had their lead at the top of the Fresha League reduced to four points with Sidmouth Town’s win over Newtown.
Town were 6-0 winners last midweek at Wellington where they completed two thirds of their top flight season but, with 10 games to play, starting with this weekend’s Colyford Road meeting with St Martin’s, there remains a lot of football to be played.
Town boss Josh Stunell says: “It’s too early to be talking of a two team title race as there’s thirty points to be played for and a lot can happen in that time. For our part we can do no more than remain fully focused on what we do, starting with the St Martins game – a side we have not yet played this term.”
Town will have three at home and six away after the visit of the Saints with the key matches looking like the home and away games with Sidmouth Town which are scheduled for successive Saturday’s, the last in April and the first in May!
Beer Albion were beaten for the very first time in the league this season at their normally fortress Furzebrake home when Wellington Town departed with the points, courtesy of a 2-1 victory. Boss Mark Ward was quite clear as to what was the difference between the two sides.
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He said: “Desire – they had it and we didn’t! We simply never got started and the only time we began to play anything like we can was in the final 20 minutes, by which time they (Wellington) were two up and the game was gone. We were woeful but there was no need to tell the players that after the game, for, to a man, they showed how much it hurt in the dressing room post match.”
A couple of bad goals to concede had put the visitors in charge and it was until 20 minutes from time that some fine approach play from Luke Bartlett was polished off with a neat Johnny Cooper finish. Cooper and Danny Rowson were the only Beer players to emerge with much credit for their efforts. The Fishermen are again at home on Saturday with the visit of Clyst Valley. Boss Ward is sure there will be a different Beer on duty.
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He said: “Having lost the long unbeaten home record and, with some tough games to come, we need to be bouncing straight back up and I expect the team to deliver.”
Feniton have slipped back into trouble at the foot of Division One after they were beaten 1-0 at Acland Park by the side immediately above them in the table, Sidbury United.
Boss Mark Kingdon was another to bemoan his side’s lack of fortune on the day. He said: “To be fair we performed reasonably well, we had more of the ball, enjoyed the greater territorial play and certainly had the better chances. However, we didn’t take our chances and they (Sidbury) punished us by seizing on a very bad defensive error in the closing stages leaving us precious little time to mount a recovery.”
This weekend, Kingdon’s side entertain Heavitree Social United and the Blues boss is sure his side will provide the goods. “We need to get back to how we have been playing in recent weeks in order to get our battle against the drop back on track.”
The return of central defender Jamie Easterbrook – he missed the Sidbury game – should help the Blues cause against the Heavies.
Honiton’s long unbeaten run that stretched back to a 2-0 defeat on November 27 last year at Exeter University was ended when they were beaten 4-1 at Mountbatten Park by – Exeter University!
Town do have a glimmer of hope as they still have fourth-from-bottom Feniton in their sights. The Blues sit 11 points above Town but have played three more. Furthermore, Town still have to play all the teams who are involved in the scrap to avoid the drop, they visit Elmore, Feniton, Halwill and Sidbury and also host Halwill and Tipton St John in their final 11 outings of the campaign.
Colyton slipped deeper into trouble at the foot of Division Two after a 10th defeat of the season, beaten 3-0 at home by University and their plight was not helped by a surprise 3-2 win for North Tawton at Uplowman.
With the departure from the Fresha League of Royal Marines AFC Reserves, it does probably mean just two to go down and, with Axminster Town almost down already, Colyton clearly need to finish above North Tawton to maintain a present in the third tier.
Upottery nailed their 10th win of the league campaign with a 3-1 success at Crescent and that takes Dan Prettejohn’s side to within eight points of the top of the table!
The villagers have played more games than any of the four sides above them and can do no more than keep winning their matches but, with the possibility of four teams being promoted at the end of the campaign, a return to the third tier of local football looks highly possible for Upottery. This weekend Prettejohn leads his side on the long trek to Winkleigh.
Offwell Rangers are another upwardly mobile Division Three side and they also clocked up a 10th league win with a 2-1 home success over table topping Pinhoe.
Neither side could break the other down in the first half. After the break the Exeter side took the lead after some sloppy Rangers’ defending, but parity was quickly restored courtesy of a goal from Liam Spiller and then Lewis Couch stroked home a penalty to seal richly-deserved victory.
Rangers boss Andy Lord said: “It was, collectively, one of the best performances from the team since I was fortunate enough to take charge of them. I must say the approach of the team to the game, the dropping behind and the recovery, made me very proud.”
Matt Leggett picked up the Man of the Match award and this Saturday Rangers, who are up to seventh and are just eight points shy of a promotion berth, are away at Crescent.
In Division Five, Dunkeswell Rovers were beaten by a single goal in their relegation ‘six pointer’ against Westexe Rovers. The Tiverton side’s victory sees them move to within two points of the fourth-from-bottom Dunks and they have played two games fewer! Next up for Dunkeswell is this weekend’s visit from Lords XI.
Defeat also for Beer Albion Reserves, who went down 4-1 at Sampford Peverell, but there were positives for Ross Moughton to take from his side’s defeat in Mid Devon.
The Fishermen’s boss said: “We were missing up to eight regulars and so mixed and matched and the lads who played did ever so well. The difference between the sides was one particular player who scored a hat-trick and set up the other”.
Michael Westlake and Josh Moughton, on either side of midfield, and Josh Harrison at right back, earned the plaudits from the Beer boss who takes his side to University this weekend.
There were mixed fortunes for Axmouth United in a double header at the weekend. On Saturday, they edged out visiting Uplowman by the odd goal in five but the following day they went out of the Carlisle Cup, beaten 6-4 after extra-time by AFC Sidford.
In the league game, they trailed 2-1 at the break with their goal from Christian Burridge but they turned things round after the break with goals from Asa Sandman and Jake Dack, but it then needed a magnificent save from glovesman Smart to ensure United banked all three points.
In the Sunday cup tie they again conceded the opening goal before a Charlie Clarke leveller. Asa Sandman and another from Clarke took United into the break leading 3-2. Shortly after the re-start, Sidford were reduced to 10 men when their goal keeper saw red but they found an equaliser to send the game into extra time where Sidford struck three times to just the one, from Charlie Sweetland, for United.
United boss Laurie Forino said: “I have nothing but praise for my team. They gave their absolute all and, given that the opposition hail from a Division above us, we really did match them in all areas. If we can sustain the sort of effort we put into the two games this past weekend, then I am sure we can go on and enjoy success in what remains of this season.”
On Saturday, United host Chagford in a league game.
Awliscombe were beaten 7-1 at Hatherleigh on Saturday, this weekend the Awls host Bampton.