Feniton in with a shout of title
PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:29 15 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
Whisper it quietly but Feniton are suddenly very much potential Champions of the Devon & Exeter League Premier Division writes Stephen Birley.
Whisper it quietly but Feniton are suddenly very much potential Champions of the Devon & Exeter League Premier Division. Three months in to the campaign and it was nothing but 'the blues' for the Blues of Acland Park but, since mid-November, they have moved up the gears and a 2-1 win at Topsham Town on Saturday sees Dave Carnall's side sit third, 12 points behind leaders Civil Service. They have six games in hand on the Exeter side and have the knowledge that second-placed Wellington Reserves are set to have points deducted for fielding un-registered players in last week's 3-3 draw at Beer Albion. The Topsham win was born out of a brace of goals from Jonathan French and, even though the hosts halved the deficit in the second half, the Blues stood firm to bank the points.It was Alex Frankpitt who set his side en route to victory with a magnificent defence-splitting pass that released French to put the Blues ahead at the break. When Trevor Anning's 20 yard 'blast' was only parried by the Topsham stopper, French bundled home the loose ball to double the lead.Defending too deeply was probably the root cause of the home side getting back into the game but that was the last threat from the Exeter side and Carnall's team saw the game out."We weren't anywhere near our best but did enough and that's the hallmark of a side in form," he said.Next up is a visit from Bickleigh and a real opportunity to make inroads on those dozen points to top spot. They will have to do without the influential Dave Court for the next three weeks as he serves a 21-day ban.Beer Albion manager Matt Rooke saw his side slump to a rare home defeat, beaten 1-0 by Heavitree Harriers. Rooke spoke of his frustrations saying: "It was one of those days, we were very flat and there was precious little sparkle about us. They got the goal that ultimately won it late on and, to be fair, it was always looking one of those sort of games that would be decided by a single strike."Albion were not helped by the early loss of star striker James Melville who felt his hamstring twinge and had to be replaced by Matty Hancock, which led to some tactical tweaking by Rooke. On Saturday, Albion travel to Exeter University and Rooke accepts that it's going to be a tough game: "University are a good side, no mistaking that but, as I keep drumming into my players, so are we, especially when we want to be. What I crave right now is greater commitment from the players because if they stick together then we can have a great end to the season."Mark Anning and Danny Rowson will miss the game against the students as they are both beginning suspensions. Anning will at least be able to play again this season after his original 'suspension and fine' was reduced on appeal to 56 days and £45 from the original 112 days and £85 fine. Rooke says: "That's better for Mark (Anning) but it is still, in my humble opinion, a draconian sentence and the sooner our level of football adopts the 'match bans' of the professional game as opposed to days, the better." Seaton Town went out of the Devon Senior Cup for the second time this season! Town were knocked out in a heavy early round defeat to Watts Blake and Bearne but were reinstated when the South Devon league side were found to have fielded an ineligible player. Defeat number two came in Saturday's 2-0 result on a real 'pudding' of a pitch at Horrabridge. With manager Mark Rooke wanting to put all his side's energies into the league campaign, the cup run was something of a 'hindrance' so is he now happy it has come to an end? "No, not at all! Indeed I am left feeling that the game at Horrabridge is one we really should have won given the amount of possession and chances we created. But, out we are and now we can truly focus on the league campaign although, given the size of dwindling squad, I think it is going to be very difficult for us to go on and claim that much vaunted promotion spot," he said.Josh French put in a sparkling performance in the cup tie and twice in the second half he should have won penalties for his side when clearly fouled in the penalty area.Better news for Rooke and his merry men was that none of the Senior Two side above them in the table managed to win on Saturday and that adds spice to the game this coming weekend which sees Town travel along the coast to Budleigh Salterton for a real 'promotion six pointer'.Rooke says: "We have lost Simon Goryl for six weeks away snow boarding and, given the size of our squad, we can ill afford any more absences. It's a shame because opportunity knocks this year given how close the top of the table is in Senior One, but I fear our Achilles heel will prove to be the depth of our squad."Honiton Town were two up and 'cruising' to three vital points at Senior Two promotion rivals Halwill before falling apart to lose by the odd goal in five. Spokesman Nigel Doe fumed: "We threw the points away and one thing we need to grasp very quickly if we are to sustain any hopes of a promotion bid is to learn to play the game for 90 minutes. Forty-five minutes here and there are simply not good enough. We need a consistent performance from start to finish and the sooner the players collectively grasp that fact the better."Pete Newby and Dan Taylor had got Town well in front and they were almost totally in the comfort zone before the home side battled their way back into the game on what was a tricky surface. On Saturday it's a trip up the North Devon link road to meet Barnstaple Town Reserves and, as Doe suggests: "It's a massive game and I would offer that, if we are to stay amongst the hopefuls at the business end, we need to bring something back to Mountbatten Park on Saturday night."Upottery continue to be upwardly mobile as they plot a fourth successive promotion in as many seasons! A 1-0 win at Dawlish Town Reserves takes the villagers to within a point of fourth-placed Honiton Town and both East Devon sides have a real chance of mounting a push for promotion. Andy Isaac was the match winner at Sandy Lane with a first half effort and thereafter Upottery looked very solid throughout their side and made it to the final whistle with something to spare. Manager Merv Sawyer said: "It was not a fluent display and I will put that down to a lack of recent football and the fact that we generally seem to struggle on the bigger and wider pitches. Sandy Lane is certainly one of those grounds. But we won and the three points do leave us handily placed as we move towards the business end of the season."On Saturday Sawyer's side host Halwill and a win will take them to within touching distance of the team who will begin the match second placed in the table. Colyton produced the performance of the weekend from the local sides with a very impressive Senior Three win over a Morchard Bishop side which had former Yeovil Town star Warren Patmore amongst their number. James Tucker notched a double and a fine free kick from Jimmy Richards put Colyton three up by the break, after which Patmore was added to the visiting side. It was the Glovers' 'legend' who managed to beat the otherwise imperious Jason Webber in the air to score the visitors' late consolation. A delighted Keith Somers said: "We deserved that, it was a superb performance but I must also mention Morchard Bishop who I thought were wonderfully gracious in defeat." The game was sponsored by Millstock Estate Agents and the sponsors' Man of the Match bottle of bubbly was picked up by Colyton fullback Marc Potter. Somers quipped: "That's all those hours I have spent with him in front of a white board with marker pen explaining tactics!"No game for Colyton this weekend. Instead Somers and his players can enjoy the celebrations as the club officially opens the new bar at the clubhouse at 4pm. What's more the ambitious 'go ahead' outfit are set to launch a calendar under the heading "Calendar Boys", to help raise funds.Rockbeare Rangers, like many others, were clearly suffering from a lack of recent match practice as they went down to Lympstone in a game that produced nine goals! Bryn Lister was on hand to knock home the ball after a super shot from Ed Haines cannoned back off an upright to make it 1-1 but three further strikes gave the Lympets a 4-1 half time lead. Ashley Andrews gave his side hope with a splendid goal, his first for the club, but, once again, inability to deal with the long ball saw Rangers concede a fifth. Mark Walters scored with a header from a Wayne Hunt corner and a late sixth for the visitors saw them win the game 6-3. Carlos Waterfield said: "It was very much a tale of two attacks as neither side's defence could cope. We struggled with their long ball game and they found it tough against our forward line pace. I felt Ashley Andrews was our star man on the day."Beer Albion Reserves were in red hot scoring form at Exmouth Amateurs, hitting six inside 18 second half minutes to go on to claim a 7-0 win. Skipper Ross Moughton was the midfield inspiration and he pulled strings throughout the game as Callum Gribble 2, Luke Bartlett 2, Adam Brewer, Matt Hales and 16-year- old Rex Kirby all hit the back of the net.Axmouth United made a much longed for return to playing, their game at Feniton Reserves was their first in five weeks and only their second match in eight. They showed no ill effects of the weather-induced lay off to win at Acland Park 2-0 thanks to goals from Dan Reynolds and Phil Squire. What made the win more impressive was the fact that it was achieved without either of the regular front men, player-boss James Teed or Ben Midgeley. Feniton 3rds beat Beacon Knights by the odd goal in five and not for the first time this season player/manager Bruce Knight scored their winning goal. Lee Ralls hit goals either side of half time to give the Blues a 1-0 lead and then to get his side back to 2-2 before Knight had the last word with his winning strike. Centre backs Eldon Brain (the club's reserve team goalkeeper) and Graham Killick had fine games for the Blues. .