Castle Still on Wembley Way, Stoke Off to a Shocker and Watcombe Win SDFL Opener
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It’s been a frenetic few days of local football activity with all the region’s sides in midweek and weekend action.
Starting with the Toolstation Western League, and BUCKLAND ATHLETIC recovered from a midweek loss away at Bridport Town to knock Clevelend out of the FA Cup at Homers Heath, keeping that Wembley dream alive for a little longer. Adam Castle’s Tuesday night trip out East could easily have been more productive had they converted one of their many second-half chances, or had the one they did put away not been ruled out for a foul on home ‘keeper Ashley Weeks. As it was, the game was settled by an own goal in the 6th minute, Warren Byerley’s dangerous cross deflected past Grant Fisher. And the Yellows could have been further behind at the break as Bridport bossed the first half, but Buckland improved considerably in the second half – just not enough to prevent a repeat of last season’s result at St Mary’s Field.
Clevedon Town were a Southern League side last season, but were demoted after failing their ground grading. And their fall from grace continued in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round as they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Bucks. Ellis Laight opened his account for the season, heading home Liam Drew’s cross after 13 minutes of play. After some end-to-end action, standout Jared Lewington slotted under the visiting ‘keeper to double the Yellows’ advantage. The trusty forehead of Laight sealed the win just two minutes after the restart, Lewis Perring with the cross this time.
Buckland have been drawn away to Larkhall Athletic in the Preliminary Round, a side that narrowly missed out on promotion to the Southern League Premier Division last season, after losing their play-off final 3-2. And the Yellows are now just 12 wins from May’s FA Cup final at Wembley!
Buckland’s next league match is on Wednesday evening at home to Division One champs and current league leaders Barnstaple Town.
On to the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Premier Division, and Tuesday also saw STOKE GABRIEL, South Devon’s only Step 10 representatives, playing away. The Railwaymen opened their campaign with a narrow 2-1 loss at Cullompton Rangers. Tim Porter’s side then lost out – by the same scoreline – to Newquay on the Saturday.
Stoke play top six finishers Witheridge tonight – again away from home – and will be hoping for a happier return journey.
BOVEY TRACEY, who won just once in last season’s Premier campaign, equalled that haul in their opening Tuesday night Carlsberg South West Peninsula Division One East fixture, at the expense of NEWTON ABBOT SPURS. After his side’s late heroics away at Appledore, Spurs boss Adam Dyson would have probably fancied his chances at The Rec, and Spurs did get the ball in the net in the first half. But after Shaun Bowden’s header was ruled offside, it was all downhill from there, the Moorlanders opening their account through former Teignmouth goalscorer Hayden Roe just four minutes into the second period. A superb free-kick from Matt Hawes doubled the away side’s tally just after the hour mark and then bad went to worse for the hosts as Chris Darke was dismissed for a second yellow with just over ten minutes remaining. Roe completed the scoring deep into stoppage time with a speculative long-range effort.
No fewer than five South Devon sides took to the field the following evening, with the bonus of two local derbies. TEIGNMOUTH continued their unbeaten start with a 1-0 victory over BRIXHAM AFC at Coombe Valley, while GALMPTON UNITED, also unbeaten, thrashed TOTNES & DARTINGTON 6-1 at the Foxhole Ground for the hosts’ second heavy defeat. LIVERTON UNITED were also yet to collect a point, Justin Yeates’ side going down 4-0 at Halford against Alphington.
And things were no better for the Lillies by Saturday evening as Galmpton beat them 2-1, again at Halford. Teignmouth also extended their unbeaten run to three with another home win – 3-1 against Sidmouth Town. In Saturday’s second derby, Totnes & Dartington finally enjoyed some good news with a 2-0 win at Bovey Tracey, while Brixham crashed to successive defeats with a 2-0 reverse at Wall Park against Exwick Villa. Finally, Newton Abbot Spurs quickly turned things around with a promising 4-1 triumph away at Okehampton Argyle. Joe Andrews made a first start of the season, and rewarded his manager’s faith just four minutes in by crossing for Jake Chisholm to head home. Jason Cordice restored parity, from close-range, on 8 minutes and the hosts hit the woodwork numerous times before lone striker Adam Dyson fired home from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time. Matt Williams eased the pressure with a goal after 70 minutes, preceded by some good interplay between Dyson and 16-year old debutant Liam Price, before Okey pressed the self-destruct button, three minutes from time, by making a hash out of clearing a long ball and presenting Tom Sercombe with an easy tap in.
Spurs play Liverton tonight and there are two more derbies to look forward to on Wednesday evening as Brixham host Bovey and Teignmouth travel to Totnes & Dartington.
Last, but not least, WATCOMBE WANDERERS kicked off the WBW Solicitors’ South Devon Football League with a 2-1 triumph over defending champs BUCKLAND ATHLETIC RESERVES in the Throgmorton Charity Shield. The Herald Cup holders and league runners-up took the lead through defender Lewis Woodmore before Mike Turner evened the scores for Bucks. But it was Greens goal machine Sean Finch (pictured) who netted the decider as Watcombe retained their trophy.
The SDFL’s first league matches commence on Saturday, with six Premier sides in action: Watcombe travel to East Allington United, Buckland host Waldon Athletic and promoted Brixham AFC Reserves play Kingsteignton Athletic.
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