Brixham Survive Late Drama at Wall Park
Brixham AFC deserved their three points at home to Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves, but Spurs came close to stealing two of them in a late period of drama at Wall Park. That scenario looked unlikely with 12 minutes to go after Scott Dodgson had met a left-wing cross to place a header in the top corner to double a lead the home side had held since the fourth minute, Tom Armstrong’s pinpoint pass having sent Chris Mitchell (pictured) through to fire past Dan Prior from just inside the box.
But Dodgson’s strike proved crucial as Ryan Sanders headed home an 82nd minute ‘Delap-style’ throw-in from Nathan Beech to kick-start a desperate bid for a smash and grab point. And two of Spurs’ best chances came and went in those last nervy minutes. Substitute Ben Adams who, at the other end, had hit the post moments earlier, caused panic among the Brixham defence as he lost possession in the box, his team-mates throwing their bodies on the line to prevent a shot on goal. Then, following a flurry of corners, Mitchell managed a vital interception as the Spurs strike-force lined up to take a pop at Dan Gillard’s goal.
Brixham were clearly missing Jay Morgan up front, and long balls from the back went as often to Spurs defenders as they did to Mitchell, Dodgson and Dan Keating, who acquitted himself well on the right. Brixham looked the most dangerous when they were pressing from midfield, with Armstrong and Jimmy Holland orchestrating many of the home side’s better moves. For Spurs, Jamie Meaden bustled industriously up front and looked dangerous on the break, but was largely kept quiet by the Brixham defence; Scott Hayman and Jamie Argyle also suffered the blow of losing Adam Richards following a high-velocity challenge just after the half-hour mark.
Brixham go back to the top after briefly losing the position to defending champions Buckland Athletic Reserves. Bucks had beaten Upton Athletic 3-0 in midweek with Lee Pike, Jamie Clifford and Gareth Davies on target.
Watcombe Wanderers move ominously into the top three after a narrow 2-1 win at Loddiswell Athletic. Sean Finch and Royston Carrington won the Greens the points to maintain their hundred per cent record.
Stoke Gabriel Reserves haven’t lost since November, and James Hannaford’s side enjoyed a 3-2 triumph at Erme Valley to condemn Ivybridge Town Reserves to a third successive loss. Kingsteignton Athletic earned a valuable point at home to Kingskerswell & Chelston, while Watts, Blake & Bearne completed a quick-fire double over bottom side Ipplepen Athletic with a 2-1 win at Moor Road.
In Division One, Dartmouth AFC were once more in prolific mood, increasing Teignmouth Reserves’ troubles with a 7-2 victory. But Abbotskerswell couldn’t take their opportunity to move off the bottom as they lost 3-0 at Broads, who keep their slim promotion hopes alive thanks to goals by Sam Chorley (2) and Phil Kingman. Newton Abbot 66’s winning streak was ended by East Allington United, the home side winning 3-0 with strikes by Si Hannaford, Tom Harvey and Jamie Batchelor. Also in the South Hams, Totnes & Dartington Reserves put a spanner in the works of Kingskerswell & Chelston Reserves with a 3-2 success at the Foxhole Ground their first in the league this year. Chudleigh completed the double over Brixham Reserves in commanding fashion, the visitors shipping seven for the third time this season.
In Division Two, Babbacombe Corinthians enjoyed a narrow 2-1 victory over rivals Foxhole United, Howard and Lawton’s strikes outweighing John Bolus’s contribution for the Foxes. And with Hare and Hammond helping Upton Athletic Reserves to hold Paignton Villa to a draw at Cricketfield Road, Corries go two points clear with a game in hand. Third-place Beesands Rovers were awarded a home walkover against Ipplepen Athletic Reserves. Dyke and Cartmill secured Newton United their first league win since December as they beat Kingsteignton Reserves 2-1 to go fourth. Brixham Town go five unbeaten with a 1-1 draw at Stoke Thirds who will be hoping for a better month; Beeschen claimed another for the Railwaymen.
Harbertonford’s reinstatement into the Lidstone Cup was short-lived, the Ford going down 2-1 at Brixham AFC Thirds; Matt Lovell and George Meredith struck for Brixham.
In Division Three, South Brent closed to within a point of second-place Buckland & Milber with an impressive 2-1 win over Ross Fewing’s high-fliers, Chris Darke with the consolation. Waldon Reserves defeated Newton Spurs Thirds 3-1 to remain in the hunt. Loddiswell Athletic Reserves comfortably came out on top in their mid-table tussle at Teign Village, the Hoops winning 3-0 with strikes from Rowe, Massey and Adam Tapper. Watts, Blake & Bearne Reserves put themselves in the promotion mix with a resounding 6-1 victory over doomed Liverton United Reserves. Tots Thirds ensured a barren March for Chudleigh Reserves who lost out 3-1.
Salcombe Town are the only side to beat Roselands in the league this season, but Simon Walker’s side were too strong a proposition at home, winning 4-0. Also in Division Four, Dittisham responded to their cup exit with a thumping 6-0 win at Ilsington. There was more frustration for Paignton Saints Reserves. For the third time this season, Saints put away three goals but once again lost the match, defeated 7-3 at home to Harbertonford Reserves. Castro and Hourihane struck for bottom side Meadowbrook Athletic, but Bovey Tracey Thirds won this relegation six-pointer 4-2.
Rarely a week goes by without Watcombe booking themselves into a final, and Saturday was no exception, as Watcombe Wanderers Reserves defeated Dartmouth AFC Reserves 5-2 to join Roselands in the Les Bishop Cup final; in-form Simon Ross bagged four goals for himself, with Sevvy Reilly also scoring.
In Division Five, AFC Staverton must have thought their tenure at the top was over as they went one down at unbeaten Preston South End. But Jim Dyer’s superb through-ball was despatched expertly by Jon Parsons before Lee Clarke’s wonder volley put Stavy in front. With 20 minutes to go, the visitors went down to ten men, but dug in to secure a vital win. Third-place Newton Rovers edged to consecutive wins with the only goal at Babbacombe Corinthians Reserves. Following a run of four home defeats, Broadhempston United Reserves won their first point of the year, away at Polonia Torbay, but remain rooted. Resurgent Moretonhampstead move closer to safety, winning 4-1 at home to Newton United Reserves to leave their opponents facing the drop. Rui de Garces managed a double this week, with the balance provided by Joe Colridge and a United own goal.
It was textbook stuff from Buckfastleigh Rangers Reserves as a Haynes treble (two from Ronnie, one from Alex) put Rangers through to the Bill Treeby Cup final at the expense of Newton 66 Reserves.
Stoke Fleming & Strete are becoming quite a bogey side for Watcombe Wanderers Thirds. A 3-3 draw at the King George V keeps things interesting at the top, as Barton Athletic won 1-0 at home to Malborough United to close the gap, Jody Rooney with the goal. Ashburton Reserves slammed Teign Village Reserves 8-0 to move off the bottom, Torre taking their place after an 11-1 reverse at Kinbgsbridge & Kellaton United who go third.