Comebacks the Order of the Day in the SDFL
Any signs of County Cup semi-final hangovers were short-lived for Brixham AFC and Watcombe Wanderers as both sides overcame tired legs and two-goal deficits to claim crucial wins. A tough league tie away at Kingskerswell & Chelston was the kind of fixture that Brixham might not have fancied last season, and at half-time things were not looking good, the home side having gone ahead through Ben Cripwell and Ollie Aplin. But the team who knocked Peninsula side Appledore out of the Premier Cup last Tuesday evening hit back early in the second-half and were soon on terms, before edging ahead. Kingskerswell & Chelston fought hard to draw level, Aplin and substitute Adam Shobbrook setting up a number of promising attacks. But Brixham’s defence stood firm and Dan Gillard rarely had to make a save. Then, with time ebbing away, Brixham made the most of a rare moment of hesitation at the back to take the ball around the home ‘keeper and end the contest. Jimmy Holland, Chris Mitchell and Ben Adams (2) made the score-sheet for Brixham.
After ensuring an all-SDFL Premier Cup final place with victory against Newtown last Wednesday, Watcombe Wanderers found themselves facing defeat in the George Belli Cup, trailing Stoke Gabriel Reserves 2-0 with seven minutes to go. But Mike Fieldhouse (2), Sean Finch and Curtis Booth turned the tie on its head to send the Greens through to the semi-finals. The result keeps their three teams on track for an astonishing NINE trophies this season.
Lee Pike’s winner against Loddiswell sees defending champs Buckland Athletic Reserves move up to second spot, while Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves complete the top three. Spurs returned to winning ways with a comfortable win against a Waldon side who easily disposed of them last week.
They had to wait until the 25th minute to take the lead, Joe Andrews (pictured) squeezing the ball home at the near post after an Adam Richards knock down. Five minutes later, Richards himself got on the scoresheet, heading home Tom Chisholm’s free-kick. Five minutes before the break, Nick Hayman put Spurs 3-0 up after another Chisholm free-kick to all but seal the game. In the second half, Waldon were reduced to ten men on the hour, Paul Riley shown a straight red after a bad challenge. Spurs then increased their lead through Ryan Sanders’ long-range effort before Hayman was given his marching orders following a reckless tackle, Stuart Bowker injured as a result leaving Waldon to soldier on with nine men. Charlie Robinson completed Spurs’ scoring from close range with 10 minutes left before Chris Harrity was shown a second yellow card, leaving Waldon to see out the game with eight men. Despite this further setback, Josh Mason scored for the visitors with seconds left after a long free kick wasn’t dealt with.
Upton Athletic broke into the top six with a fine 4-1 win over Ivybridge Town Reserves, while Watts, Blake & Bearne drove another nail into Ipplepen Athletic’s coffin, winning 2-0 at Abbrook Park.
In Division One, Chudleigh stunned Broadhempston with a 3-1 home win, only their third of the campaign; Sean Vale scored for Broads. Dartmouth AFC continue to chip at Bovey Tracey Reserves’ lead with a 6-3 victory over Kingskerswell & Chelston Reserves; Carl Cliff-Brown rolled out for Darts, scoring twice, with Karl Baker grabbing a hat-trick and Dan Broadway a single. Buckland Athletic Thirds scored five without reply at Abbots Park to stay third, Edmunds (2), Groves, Montandon and Douglas on the score-sheet. Newton 66 are on a roll, a 3-1 triumph at home to Teignmouth putting them right in the promotion mix. Two goals by Richard Anthony helped Buckfastleigh to a 2-1 win against Brixham Reserves, moving Rangers to within a point of their opponents who scored through Hopper. East Allington came away from the Foxhole Ground with three points, Andy and Jon Davis, Chris Jebb and Si Hannaford with the goals that move United above Tots.
Six points separate the top seven in Division Two, with Babbacombe Corinthians taking over at the top after beating Beesands Rovers 2-1, Leacock and Sumatpimolchai with Corries’ goals, Morgan for Bees. Paignton Villa narrowly defeated Harbertonford in a seven-goal thriller to go second. Newton United and Brixham AFC Thirds, at opposite ends of the table, could both have done with wins but had to settle for a goalless draw. Three home wins in March moves Kingsteignton Reserves up to sixth, while in-form Brixham Town have also enjoyed a perfect March to date, collecting another three points, and scoring six for the first time this season. Opponents Ipplepen Reserves were unable to find the net and stay rooted. Foxhole entertained Upton Reserves with both sides looking to avoid the drop back down to Division Three. Home marksman John Bolus hit both goals in a 2-1 victory to move the Foxes above their opponents. Fellow strugglers Paignton Saints earned a valuable point at Stoke Thirds.
Josh Moore scored half of Buckland & Milber’s dozen as Ross Fewing’s side racked up a fifth straight win to close the gap on Division Three leaders Ashburton. Dan Steer and Roland Blowers managed two apiece with Arron Throssell and Stuart Middlehurst also on target against Waldon Athletic Reserves. Game-starved Newton Spurs Thirds claimed the odd goal in five to defeat Bishopsteignton. Tots Thirds claimed their first point of the year, holding Teign Village to a goalless draw, while East Allington Reserves defeated Chudleigh Reserves 3-0 to make up for their 2-1 defeat in February.
In Division Four, Roselands broke the hundred-goal mark with a 4-0 win at Meadowbrook, while an 80th minute screamer saw Waldon Athletic Thirds stay in touch. South Brent Reserves keep up the pressure on the top two with a 3-1 home win over Dittisham United, Soper with United’s consolation. Watcombe Wanderers Reserves are yet to drop a point, winning 3-0 at Bovey Tracey Reserves courtesy of strikes from Jordan Finch (2) and Cieran Bridger. Harbertonford Reserves capitalised on Ilsington’s current poor away form, winning 3-0 at The Hams. Dartmouth AFC Reserves finally managed ninety minutes, winning 5-1 at Paignton Saints Reserves who are point-less in 2014.
In Division Five, AFC Staverton maintain a narrow lead after a 3-0 win at Broadhempston United Reserves. Unbeaten Preston South End came away from Bakers Park with three more points after a convincing 6-0 triumph over promotion rivals Newton Rovers. Eight goals were shared at Paignton College, but a draw did neither Roselands Reserves nor Buckfastleigh Rangers Reserves much good. Ryan Porter hit another two for Rangers, with Bradlei Davison and Eric Hale also contributing. It was also 4-4 at Wadley Brook, the result enough to lift Moretonhampstead off the bottom of the table. Rui de Garces and Jake Snell sunk doubles for the home side, with Babbacombe Reserves’ goals provided by Chancellor (2), Morris and Chown. Polonia Torbay are back on a winning track after a really good win at Riviera United. The first half finished goalless, but Wojtowicz saved a penalty for the visitors who created a few chances but were unlucky.
After the break, Polonia brought on two substitutes and, before long, Currie (returning to the club after six months) scored the opener. A few minutes later, Patryk Krawycinski scored a second, but the resultant clash with the home goalkeeper left him with a shoulder injury requiring hospital treatment.
Newton 66 Reserves enjoyed a convincing 4-0 derby win over United Reserves, while Chris Meekings and Cory Brennan earned Buckland and Milber Reserves a point at Torbay Police, Jamie Philpot starring with a brace for the Bees.
In Division Six, Watcombe Wanderers Thirds gave Kingsbridge & Kellaton United a taste of what to expect in the Ivor Andrews Cup final with an 8-1 home win. Barton Athletic suffered a rare defeat, away at Malborough United, Ben Coates, Nick Martin and Jamie Hurrell on target for the South Hams side. Stoke Fleming & Strete enjoyed back-to-back wins with the only goal at home to Teign Village Reserves. Bottom side Ashburton Reserves won 2-0 at Quinta for a second victory against Torre.
Watts, Blake & Bearne Reserves came away with a 4-1 win at Loddiswell Athletic Reserves to make the last four of the Ronald Cup, Ed Church with Hoops’ sole strike. They will face South Brent who won 6-2 at Liverton United Reserves.