Brixham Take Top Spot as Torridgeside Comeback Stuns Stoke
The exciting tussle at the top of the Peninsula Division One East took another twist this weekend as Brixham edged Alphington 1-0 to take top spot from Stoke Gabriel who were somehow on the wrong side of a nine goal thriller at Torridgeside despite leading 4-1! Meanwhile, with Bovey Tracey taking Newton Abbot Spurs to the cleaners, Teignmouth took the chance to move level on points with the third-placed side.
A first half goal at Wall Park was enough for the Fishermen but only just – Ryan Moody got on the end of a lob to put the ball in the net but the home linesman had raised his flag which didn’t impress the visitors. The Alphas did play a big part in this game but couldn’t prevent defeat.
Torridgeside took an early lead at home to Stoke Gabriel, Harry Stevens scoring within the first five minutes, but Ollie Critchlow’s 10th minute strike restored parity before the same player nudged the visitors ahead ten minutes later. When Critchlow sealed his first half-hat-trick on the stroke of half-time and then netted again in the second period, it looked as if the points were heading back to South Devon. But suddenly the home side clicked into gear and put in a massive shift to begin to haul in the three goal deficit. Jamie Bright brought it back to 4-2, Stevens fired home his second to move the North Devon side to within touching distance and Neil Bettiss finally found the equaliser. But Torridgeside were not done yet and nor was Stevens who claimed his hat-trick to leave Stoke stunned.
Newton Abbot Spurs were also left scratching their heads after being undone by South Devon rivals Bovey Tracey at home. Despite missing two of their regular back four, Spurs started brightly, Adam Dyson unlucky not to open the scoring in within the first three minutes as the striker put Liam Jones’ cross just the wrong side of the post from the home side’s perspective. Jacob Hatherley then warmed Matt Bojar’s gloves at the other end with a long-range strike in the 5th minute. Hatherley’s corner led to the 21st minute opener, Ryan Stanbridge heading past Bojar for Bovey, and Joe Bushin almost scored a copycat goal moments later as he headed over. With ten minutes to go until half-time, Bushin tested Bojar from distance before the Moorlanders netted a deserved second on the 39th minute. After the visitors had won possession in midfield, some slick passing from Bushin and Callum Livingstone ended with Livingstone firing home from just inside the area. Despite being second best for most of the afternoon, Spurs almost found a lifeline on 56 minutes, Liam Moseley teeing up Jones who hit his shot against the post from inside the box. Four minutes later, Dyson had another pop, this time forcing Adam Bryant into a low save. Then the initiative was back with the away side, Bushin somehow heading over from close range on 70 minutes after a Callum Leech corner. Five minutes later and it was finally all over, Gav Collins carving himself some space before playing the ball to Bushin, the striker crashing home a third off the underside of the crossbar. Joe Andrews almost grabbed a consolation but when Bryant saved his header, the resultant breakaway almost led to a fourth Bovey goal, Livingstone hitting a shot marginally wide. Livingstone had another chance to extend the lead when Collins put him through but fired high over the bar.
That result meant that a win for Teignmouth would move them level on points with Spurs and just two points behind Stoke. Unfortunately, they found visiting Crediton United, themselves in with a title shout, a tough nut to crack and Steve Norish tested the home ‘keeper more than once in a dominant opening spell for Creddy. Captain Dave Lee then put Morish through again, this time with no goalkeeper in his path, but the midfield man missed the target. The miss only delayed the inevitable though, United moving well down the right and Kieran Stone feeding Dan McCann who found the net from inside the box. Creddy doubled up before the break, Morish taking two bites of the cherry before finally finding the target. Crediton looked to press home their advantage before the interval but were let down by their finishing and found the home ‘keeper equal to those shots that were on the mark. Could Teigns get their act together and make them rue those missed chances? The chances of a comeback looked slim as Crediton picked up from where they left off, Morish heading Lee’s cross at the goalkeeper from close range and lone striker Richard Blake sending a shot wide. Ryan Bush made no mistake when a left-sided cross evaded Richard Groom and landed in his path. Bush fired past Fred Tonkin to halve the deficit and boost the home supporters. Then, with the Crediton defence undone by a long ball, Greenslade nipped through to bury an unlikely equaliser and give the hosts the impetus to go on and win the game. That they did when another long ball found Miles free on the left. The full-back proved too much for McCann as he surged into the box and fired past Tonkin into the far corner. Groom lent his support to the visiting attack as the manager changed things up to try and grab a late equaliser but after he had headed wide and Morish’s shot had been saved yet again the three points went to Teigns.
Elsewhere, Liverton United edged the day’s other derby, against Totnes and Dartington, 1-0 while Galmpton United went down 5-1 to the University of Exeter.