Honiton keep hopes alive
PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:30 15 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
Just as the Acland Park faithful were wondering how high their current run could take them, Feniton got a serious attack of the Blues and slumped to a desperate defeat at the hands of a Bickleigh side who were claiming their first win in two months.
Just as the Acland Park faithful were wondering how high their current run could take them, Feniton got a serious attack of the Blues and slumped to a desperate defeat at the hands of a Bickleigh side who were claiming their first win in two months. What's more Feniton scored first - Andy Jones giving them an early lead - but the Blues' second goal arrived only after the Mid Devon side had scored three of their own. Boss Dave Carnall said: "This was certainly 'one of those days' precious little went right for us in either build-up or the game. I shall not be losing too much sleep over this defeat and I am sure that it will prove to be a 'blip' in the current form." The Blues go into Saturday's meeting with Beer Albion scratching round for a side.Carnall explained: "This weekend just happens to clash with a club trip away, booked months ago, and we did ask the league for dispensation to call off our 2nd and 3rd team games as we felt we would be hard pushed to field two sides let alone three." With David Court still out suspended, the Blues' cause has not been helped by injuries to both Richard Hudson and Matt Kingdom and Andy Jones pulled a groin in the Bickleigh defeat, but Carnall still feels his side will be competitive for the 'derby' at Beer. "It's a real chance for other players at the club to seize the moment and show what they can do. Beer are a decent side and it should be a great game, one that players want to play in."Beer Albion bounced back from the home defeat in their last league outing to claim the impressive scalp of a University side who don't get beaten too often in a Premier League campaign. James Melville continued his fine run of form in front of goal with the only score of the contest. Albion are now just four points adrift of the new third-placed side Thorverton. Boss Mark Rooke says: "We played well, created a number of chances and, once we got our noses in front, I couldn't see our powerful defensive line being breached. I had urged the lads at the break to play with two banks of four to preserve what we had and they played that to a tee. It was a competent display against a very good opposing team who certainly play football the 'right' way."James Green came in for the suspended Danny Rowson and formed a fine partnership at the back with the superb Simon Smith. Next up Albion host the East Devon 'derby' when Feniton come to Furzebrake for a game that, if the Fishermen win by two clear goals, will see them sit above the Blues in the table on Saturday evening, a fact not lost on Rooke who says: "I am actually very confident that we will win the game with Feniton and why shouldn't I be? We are always a handful at home and I have championed for some time that when we play the game we know we are a capable of, then we are a match for anyone, especially at our place. Feniton are a competent side but I shall be disappointed if we don't bank the points and move on to do similar to Topsham to boost our bid for a top six spot. Consistency of performance is the key."Luke Bartlett will step up from the club's Reserve side for the game but Albion will be without wide man Eliot Hudson-Jones who has returned to University.Seaton Town's Senior One title bid was probably ended for another year with their third defeat of the campaign at the hands of 'beaten once' table-topping Budleigh Salterton.The Robins won the Greenway Lane contest 4-1 and did so a man short for the final third of the match after the dismissal of Scott Howarth. Town will now target a top three berth in a bid to join the Robins in the top flight next term.Both Honiton Town and Upottery had 3-2 wins in Senior Two, and both, as a result, furthered their genuine promotion credentials. Town claimed a superb 3-2 win at Barnstaple Town. Spokesman Nigel Doe had suggested a week ago that, if the Mountbatten Park men really did harbour promotion hopes, then they simply had to bring something back to East Devon from their journey to Mill Road. Pre-match the dressing room talk for Town players was all about the call to play for the full 90 minutes and this is exactly what they did, and to a man too! The surface was only passed fit to play after a mid-morning inspection and it was the home side who stormed into a two goal lead with Town stopper Matt Slark beaten twice, the first by a wonder strike and the second from the penalty spot. But Dan Taylor netted a brace before the break to take Town in at 2-2 and, after Gareth Mitchell scored what proved to be the winner in the 73rd minute, it was then time for Slark to take centre stage with three outstanding saves to enable Town to take the points back to Mountbatten Park. Doe said: "It really was a marked improvement both in terms of the effort and the way the lads played for the full 90 minutes. Owing to unavailability the side was much changed from the previous week but everyone stood tall and helped to make it a game we deserved to win."It's University at home next for Paul Sedgewick's side and coming up very soon a 'massive' derby game with Upottery - now that's a match that should be worth watching! Upottery continue to look like a side who may well go on and claim a fifth successive promotion in a couple of months' time as they claimed a rapid fire 'double' over fellow promotion hopefuls Halwill. Merv Sawyer's men beat Halwill on their own patch 3-2 on December 22, coming back from two goals down to claim the win, and they repeated the process on Saturday. After going two down inside six minutes, they were back in it at the break courtesy of Jake Phillips' 20th minute strike, and then, after Andy Isaac had levelled shortly after the restart, Phillips struck what proved to be the winner. Upottery are part of the promotion 'mix' now and, as Sawyer suggested, that fact is not lost on the players. "For some time now we have quietly felt that, having initially looked to find our feet at this level and gain some form of mid table security, we are actually capable of doing better than that and a double win over a side who are a 'top three' team at this level, enforces our inner belief that we really can keep this going."In Senior Three Motel and Offwell Rangers came within a single goal of a superb result at high flying Morchard Bishop before finally going down by the odd goal, in seven!Axmouth United claimed a second successive clean sheet but they fired blanks on this occasion, being held 0-0 by Okehampton Argyle 3rds at home. Feniton Reserves went the same way as their first team, beaten by Bickleigh, the Blues' second string losing 5-1.Awliscombe were 2-0 winners over visiting AFC Sidford.Beer Albion Reserves shared four goals - and the points - in a 2-2 draw with Northlew at Furzebrake. Matt Hales and Callum Gribble scored goals in five late first half minutes to send their side in all square after the visitors had grabbed an early advantage. One point might have become three had Gribble not spurned a second half spot kick. Both sides were reduced to ten men in the second half. Albion's John Moughton said: "Frankly it was a very forgettable performance by us in a forgettable game. We can only hope for better things in terms of performance next weekend."Honiton Town Reserves beat Hemyock at Mountbatten Park. Axminster Town 3rds went 'nap' at Lympstone winning 5-3Rockbeare Rangers crashed to a miserable 9-1 thrashing at Oak FC.In Intermediate Three Colyton Reserves drew 2-2 with Priory whilst in Intermediate Four Feniton 3rds completed a poor day for Acland Park sides as they fell to defeat, in their case a 5-3 loss at Bampton.Motel & Offwell Reserves lost 2-0 at home to Otterton.