Last Day Drama as Stoke Go Down – Local Football Round-Up Part 1/2
Going into Saturday’s fixtures, Stoke Gabriel knew that their Peninsula Premier survival was now out of their hands. But a glimmer of hope had became a distinct ray by the end of the afternoon as the Railwaymen achieved their compulsory win against Saltash while the Peppermints of Newquay AFC went down to a heavy defeat at home to Exmouth Town.
The first signs of optimism for Stoke Gabriel came from the early news filtering through from Newquay’s Mount Wise stadium with Matt Dawson giving Exmouth a fifth minute lead. Nathan Cooper’s strike, on 23 minutes, brought even more good news for the South Devon side. Then came Dawson’s second, around the hour mark followed by the 77th minute dismissal of Luke Weldhen for the hosts. Karl Rickard was next on the score-sheet for Exmouth, with nine minutes remaining, before Louis Price grabbed a last minute consolation. Meanwhile, at Broadley Lane, goals from Ollie Critchlow and Rob Bowker had given Stoke a 2-0 advantage over Saltash who pulled one back to set up a gripping finale.
But Stoke held out for the win to move level on points with Newquay, and with a vastly superior goal difference. It left Newquay needing to gather themselves up for the short trip to Callington the very next day needing a point to avoid the drop and send Stoke Gabriel back to Division One East. By half-time, it was becoming apparent that Sacha Wheatman’s Cornishmen were not planning on a repeat of the previous day’s capitulation and neither were they prepared to leave anything to chance. Goals from Jordan Annear, Callum McOnie and Hayden Turner gave the visitors a comfortable 3-1 half-time lead (Gary Williams’ 20th minute goal reducing the deficit briefly to 2-1) before Annear completed his hat-trick in the second half to finally put Stoke out of their misery.
Following the game, it was announced that manager Tim Porter and his assistant Matt Zadel are to stand down to make way for Nick Milton Sr, an experienced youth coach who has previously worked with the Torquay United development team. Wheatman also parted ways with Newquay.
Also taking his last game in charge on Saturday was Buckland Athletic manager Adam Castle who is set to move to Ireland with Ellis Laight succeeding him for the 2016/17 season. Buckland Athletic were still in with a shout of silverware after reaching the semi-finals of the Les Phillips Cup but they were away against a tough Willand Rovers side against which they had drawn twice in the league. Pitch conditions forced the Yellows to play more narrow than they would have liked and when James Blake gave the hosts and trophy holders a 30th minute lead it was beginning to look like a long, hard slog back. Lloyd Gardner had the chance to level the scores just before half-time, but his penalty kick came back off the post and despite plenty of possession and the better of the remaining chances, Shane Gill drawing a fine save from the home goalkeeper late on, Buckland bowed out 1-0. Willand Rovers will now defend the cup against First Division side Hengrove Athletic at Welton Rovers on May 14th. Hengrove shocked last year’s Premier winners Melksham Town with a 2-1 extra-time victory, away from home, last Saturday.
The final day in the South West Peninsula Division One East saw
Teignmouth defeat Crediton United 5-2 to pip the University of Exeter to the runners-up spot. Teigns were clearly motivated from the whistle and a 2-0 half-time lead flattered the visitors if anything. Three more goals came after the break until, on the 70th minute, a formation change allowed Crediton back into the game, Ben Bristowe with a brace in the remaining minutes. The home side’s goals were delivered by Scott and Jack Baxter, Ryan Bush, Matt Eves and Miles James.
Galmpton United knew that win, lose or draw they would finish in a not too shabby fifth place. In the end, a Jamie Orchard strike saw the Greens lose out 1-0 at Sidmouth Town. Following the disappointment of their Throgmorton Cup Final defeat, Newton Abbot Spurs were hoping to steal sixth spot from Alphington with a win at Halford while player-manager Adam Dyson had his eye on the Golden Boot. But it was Liverton, perhaps unsurprisingly considering their current form, who started the brighter, Sean Finch missing a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring and then hitting the angle before Spurs managed to create some chances of their own, Jake Chisholm testing Simon Primmer on more than one occasion. Finch and Nathan Hebbes had further chances for the hosts before Dyson, one goal behind Ben Mogg, put one over under pressure in the half’s dying moments.The chance of sixth spot looked to have gone when first Thomas Johns poked home Connor Stewart’s cross in the 54th minute and then Jamie Down hit a long, low drive past Ryan Brittain on 55 minutes. But a minute later, Primmer’s save from Dyson’s header landed at the feet of Joe Andrews who halved the deficit. Andrews returned the favour on 66 minutes, threading a ball through to Dyson who rounded Primmer and scored the goal that put him level on goals with Mogg. As both sides vied for the decisive fifth goal, Hebbes managed to hit the bar and Dyson tested the Liverton goalkeeper but no-one could break the deadlock and Spurs missed out on a top six finish. Unfortunately, Dyson also missed out on a share of the Golden Boot as Dave O’Connor’s brace for champions Tiverton Town Reserves, who won 7-2 at relegated Okehampton Argyle, left him one goal clear of both Dyson and Mogg.
Finally, Bovey Tracey were hoping for a final day away win that would take them above Liverton United. But the Moorlanders were struggling for personnel and hosts Appledore were clearly still on a cup high as they romped to a 6-1 victory. Although the Fishermen were dominant throughout, the floodgates didn’t really open until after the break. Brian Levien , who was instrumental in Appledore’s cup-winning goal, opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a powerful close-range shot and that was the only goal until the second half. Then, on 58 minutes, Ross Middleton pounced for the hosts’ second after the visiting goalkeeper was unable to hold on to Sam Fishwick’s free-kick. Five minutes later it was 2-1, Liam Payne notching for Bovey, before makeshift striker Levien took charge of proceedings, taking advantage of hesitancy at the back to hit an easy second before lashing Jamie Frickleton’s through ball into the corner of the net to complete his hat-trick, seconds later. Levien made it 5-1 five minutes from the end with a neat finish before grabbing his fifth, one minute from time, by finishing off James Marsh’s pass, again into the corner.