Buckland Hit the Top as Stoke and Liverton Get Off the Mark
This week’s round of evening matches ended with Buckland Athletic taking over the Western League top spot from opponents Barnstaple Town with a single goal at Homer’s Heath, while Stoke picked up their first point of the season away at Witheridge in the Peninsula Premier.
BUCKLAND ATHLETIC entertained table-topping Barnstaple on Wednesday night, a side who won the First Division of the Western League last season. But the Yellows were determined to make an immediate impact, and after a blistering start, a left-wing cross was powered home from the head of Liam Head who opened his account for the season.
But ‘Barum’, who had arrived on the back of three straight wins (against Bradford Town and Willand Rovers, who they beat in both the league and FA Cup), were soon back in the game, and both sides traded chances in the remainder of the first half.
Shortly after the break, Barnstaple grazed the home crossbar, but Buckland almost extended their lead with a host of chances around the hour mark, Lewis Perring, Jared Lewington and Gavin Hammon involved. Cup hero Ellis Laight was introduced as both sides changed things up. But the plan backfired for the Reds as Will Nicholls limped off with an ankle injury to leave his side a man short for the run in. The ten men pressed hard in the closing stages but Buckland held on to earn a massive three points and climb to the head of the table.
Buckland’s next league match is away at Longwell Green Sports this afternoon; Longwell are yet to win this season.
STOKE GABRIEL earned their first point of the season, at the third time of asking, in a game which saw Rob Bowker’s evening marred by a broken leg sustained during the match. It was all smiles for Bowker after just four minutes at Edge Town Park after his spot-kick gave the Railwaymen the lead but Withy levelled through Jamie Dirrane to ensure the sides went in to the break one apiece. Three minutes after the restart, Stoke edged ahead through Tom Kelly’s superb free-kick but the hosts once again equalised for a share of the spoils.
Stoke remain on the road this weekend as they line up against Saltash at the Kimberley Stadium this afternoon.
LIVERTON UNITED also picked up a point in Division One East, becoming the last local team to get points on the board. It came on Tuesday evening at The Rec, where spectators enjoyed a six-goal South Devon derby. Newton Abbot Spurs fully deserved their first half lead and had already come close on numerous occasions before Joe Andrews’ cross found the head of the returning Matt Barkwell who headed home his first goal of the campaign half-way through the first half. Andrews then added his name to the score sheet, getting the final touch after Barkwell’s cross had been headed goalwards by Adam Dyson. Curtis Booth muscled the Lillies back into the match, beating two Spurs defenders before slotting home, but Barkwell soon scored his second of the match to restore the cushion. Dyson almost put the game out of sight at the end of the half, but his spot-kick was saved. Justin Yeates’ struggling side took full advantage and staged a second-half comeback to justify a share of the points. The deficit was halved on the hour mark, the goal credited to Spurs ‘keeper Ross Williams who spilled Justin Grinsill’s floated free-kick. Williams redeemed himself with some fine saves from Ian Down, but the equaliser was on the cards and Booth bagged his brace with a 12-yard volley.
The derby theme continued into Wednesday, with BRIXHAM AFC held 1-1 at home by BOVEY TRACEY, and TEIGNMOUTH moving above Galmpton and into second spot with a 3-1 win at TOTNES & DARTINGTON.
This afternoon’s action sees Teignmouth travel to leaders St Martins, Galmpton host Budleigh Salterton and Brixham away at pointless Axminster. Totnes & Dartington travel to Appledore, Bovey host Crediton and Liverton and the University of Exeter clash at Halford, both sides looking for that morale-boosting first win.
Finally, the SDFL’s first league matches commence this afternoon, with six Premier sides in action: Watcombe travel to East Allington United, Buckland host Waldon Athletic and promoted Brixham AFC Reserves play Kingsteignton Athletic.
Here is the full South Devon fixtures list for today:
Vanarama Football Conference:
Grimsby Town v Torquay United (3pm)
Toolstation Western League Premier Division:
Longwell Green Sports v Buckland Athletic (3pm)
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Premier Division:
Saltash United v Stoke Gabriel (3pm)
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division One East:
Appledore v Totnes & Dartington (3pm)
Axminster Town v Brixham AFC (3pm)
Bovey Tracey v Crediton United (3pm)
Galmpton United v Budleigh Salterton (3pm)
Liverton United v University of Exeter (3pm)
St Martins v Teignmouth
WBW Solicitors South Devon Football League:
Brixham AFC Reserves v Kingsteignton Athletic (2.30pm)
Buckland Athletic Reserves v Waldon Athletic (2.30pm)
East Allington United v Watcombe Wanderers (2.30pm)
Ashburton v Buckland Athletic Thirds (2.30pm)
Abbotskerswell v Watcombe Wanderers Reserves (2.30pm)
Buckfastleigh Rangers v Paignton Saints (2.30pm)
Meadowbrook Athletic v Barton Athletic (2.30pm)
Moretonhampstead v Malborough United (2.30pm)
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