Ups and downs of league season

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:45 15 June 2010

Sidmouth (green) Vs Honiton (red)
pic by Alex Walton

P1127-17-08AW Sidmouth (green) Vs Honiton (red) pic by Alex Walton

Copyright Archant Ltd

Beer Albion are now very much 'in the relegation mix' after they suffered a narrow defeat in Mid Devon at Thorverton and then heard of a shock win for Hatherleigh Town who had got the better of title favourites St Martin's.

Beer Albion are now very much 'in the relegation mix' after they suffered a narrow defeat in Mid Devon at Thorverton and then heard of a shock win for Hatherleigh Town who had got the better of title favourites St Martin's.The Fishermen are two places and eight points off the drop zone, but the two sides immediately below them both have sufficient games in hand to overtake them and so Matt Rooke's side probably need to dig out one win from their remaining three games to ensure staying out of the bottom places.A couple of 'cheap' goals had gifted the home side a two-goal advantage before John Cooper headed a corner home to give Albion hope. But there was to be no comeback despite Martin Hancock hitting both crossbar and upright.Rooke said: "We really cannot afford to give sides the sort of presents we liberally hand out. It's a combination of that charity and what I see as a terrible lack of commitment by some of my players that is leaving us needing to look over our shoulder in terms of avoiding relegation." Rooke continued: "I think some of the players see the forthcoming semi- finals as more important. Not so for me, the only 'real deal' is the league campaign. With our squad we should be top six, not messing about at the foot of the table."Next up is a swift rematch with Thorverton at Furzebrake on Saturday, a game which Rooke says: "We need to make sure we take something out of this game. One more win should suffice."Feniton went down 2-1 at Heavitree Harriers in a game that had an 'end of season feel' to it although their right back chose the occasion to score a 'wonder' goal, his 40 yard shot taking the home keeper over the line with the ball to give his side the lead. The home side scored midway through the first half and did similar after the break and that was that, although both Mark Kingdom and Jonathan French spurned one-on-one opportunities near the end. That's four games played with Harriers this season and four defeats, the last three each by an odd goal. Boss Dave Carnall says: "They (Harriers) are certainly our bogey side. I am glad we don't meet them again till next season."This weekend the Blues travel to relegated Cullompton Rangers, who they beat at Acland Park 4-0 a couple of weeks ago.Seaton Town were narrowly beaten by a Budleigh Salterton side who are now just a whisker away from sealing the Senior One title. It remains to be seen if Mark Rooke's side can follow the Robins into the Premier Division, for their defeat and a win for Otterton means that Town's destiny is no longer in their own hands. They play tonight (Wednesday) with the visit of East Budleigh and finish their programme with Saturday's trip to Exeter St Thomas. Two wins is a must and then it's a case of waiting to see if Otterton can win all four of their remaining games against University (twice), Alphington and Elmore. If they do then Colyford Road will not be staging Premier matches next season.The defeat to Budleigh was hard to take for the Town boss who saw his side have what he felt was a legitimate 'goal' ruled out. This would have given them the lead, instead that luxury fell to the visitors who doubled their advantage before Ollie Highett netted in the second half. That was the end of the scoring as the visitors held on to record a 2-1 win.Mark Rooke said: "I still cannot fathom how the 'goal' that wasn't was deemed offside. It looked like Mike Wheeler won a header with two defenders seemingly nearer the goal than him, so how can that be offside?" However, the refs act on what they see. To add salt to the wounds, the Robins scored themselves within 60 seconds of that incident in their own goal mouth and, 10 minutes later, with Town still feeling hard done by, the Robins doubled their lead.Upottery's promotion push was hit by a surprise 2-0 defeat at St Loye's and it means that there is no room for further error in the final two games of the season, both of which need to be won if Merv Sawyer's team are to win yet another promotion. The villagers have the 'tougher' of the final two games this coming Saturday with the visit of University and seven days later they host Newtown Reserves. Two wins and they're up, anything less and it'll be a case of hoping results elsewhere go their way.Sawyer's men have not had any luck with the way the fixtures have come out for they met St Loye's at a time when the Exeter side had clearly benefited from the demise of Pinhoe. A first half penalty gave the home side the half time advantage, one that would have been greater had it not been for a superb save from another penalty by Adrian Coombe, and then, with Upottery committing men forward in search of an equaliser, the Exeter side scored an 85th minute second. "We were not at our most fluent but they (St Loye's) are a much changed side and they played very well too. We have it in our own hands still and I am sure we will be okay."Honiton Town are enduring a 'topsy turvy' end of season. A week after winning 6-4 they went down 4-0 in the East Devon 'derby' meeting with Sidmouth Town. The Vikings are all but down and this was only their fifth win of the entire campaign. Town's Nigel Doe said: "Town's certainly the team to watch to see goals as the season draws to a close. After ten goals were scored in their previous game, Town were involved in a six goal contest at Sidmouth Town but this time, rather than finish with a two goal advantage, the Mountbatten Park men were beaten by a similar margin."In Senior Three Motel Rangers & Offwell won for only the second time this season, 3-2 at Winkleigh. Seaton Town Reserves went down 7-1 at Heavitree Social UnitedIt's still 'all to play for' in the race to claim the Senior Four title between already promoted Axminster Town Reserves and Witheridge Reserves. The Tigers did the 'double' over Chard Town winning 5-3 at Zembard Lane to add to the 4-0 Sector Lane success just four days before. Both sides had midweek games and so after this Saturday the Mid Devon side will still have to play two more than the Tigers and the pair meet at Sector Lane on Monday, May 12 for what could yet be a title 'decider'.At Zembard, the Tigers fell behind before Terry Emmet levelled and then a Joel Seward brace took them into half time with a 3-1 advantage. A bright start to the second half saw Emmett net his second and at 4-1 it seemed 'all done and dusted', but the hosts had other ideas and hit back with two superb goals to make it 4-3. Graham White came off the bench and scored the Tigers' 5th and calm the nerves: "That was some game, at times we played very well and yet at other times we appeared to switch off. I am thrilled that we have achieved what we set out to do at the start of the season - win promotion, it's so important in terms of the bigger picture at Sector Lane that we keep this momentum with the Reserves going. 'There's a promising bunch of young players here and if they maintain the hunger and the desire, then so will I.

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