Stoke Off The Mark in Opening Day Draw – Full SWPL Round-Up
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Stoke Earn Point on Premier League debut
by Tom Besford
Launceston were the visitors in the first ever step six football match to be played at the GJ Churchwood Memorial Ground, where the hosts had a nightmare start to the season with the shock resignation of promotion-winning manager, Gary Fisher, just days before.
The Railwaymen, managed by senior player Tim Porter in the interim, took the lead early on in the game when after just eight minutes Dave Worthington caught the Launceston keeper Dan Stevenson off his line, lobbing him from fully 40 yards out.
The game was a very even affair and Launceston almost equalised before the break when their front man was prevented by a block from Stoke man of the match Frazer Clark after the forward stole the ball off sweeping ‘keeper Dom Aplin.
Launceston had a spell in the second half when they were on top, but some fine keeping by Aplin kept the Cornish side at bay as Chris Wright saw his shot superbly saved, preventing the ball from flying into the top corner.
The visitors managed to equalise midway through the half, a quick counter-attack ended with Dan Jefferis hitting an angled drive past Aplin and into the back of the net to the joy of the sky blue bench and travelling support.
Stoke had a good chance to win the game with minutes to go when Karl Baker, returning to the club after two seasons at Dartmouth and Torquay United, had time in the box before seeing his curling effort pushed just wide of the post by Stevenson.
Spoils shared in an exciting end to end game as Stoke claim their first point in the Premier League.
FT: Stoke Gabriel 1 – 1 Launceston
Stoke Gabriel: Dom Aplin, Ben Brown, Ryan O’Callaghan, Mark Ashworth, Frazer Clark, Ryan Beattie, Rob Bowker, Darren Veale, Dave Worthington, Karl Baker, Sam Dicken, Dan Easton, Danny Horsfall, Neil Last, Rick Lee
Launceston: Dan Stevenson, Sam Scott, Chris Saunders, Chris Menhenick, Matt David, Rob Blake, Callum Martindale, Liam Tilley, Chris Wright, Jack Alexander, Sam Davey, Chris Head, Mike Burke, Josh Harris, Gavin Welsh, Dan Jefferis
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Callington Town edged a seven goal thriller to beat Bovey Tracey 4-3 at Marshfield Park to start life at Step Six with a win.
Division One East:
Teigns Bring Down Axe on Home Debut
Teigns started the game brightly and opened the scoring in the 12th minute; Geoff Breslan’s quick free kick sent Ryan Bush clear on the right and his drilled cross was turned into the net from close range by Scott Baxter. Axminster raised their game and equalised seven minutes later; Teigns’ defence failed to clear a long through ball and visiting forward Peter Knox ran in to beat Teigns’ ‘keeper Aaron Ibbetson with a low shot.
Teigns regained the lead in the 33rd minute, Geoff Breslan again starting the move with a measured pass to debutant Isaac Reed whose left-wing pull back was calmly placed wide of a diving ‘keeper into the corner of the net by Hayden Roe.
Early in the second half, Harry Gorton’s promising first team début was cut short when a clash with Knox saw him leave the field with a foot injury; Steve Shrubb replaced Gorton at right back. On the hour, Roe had a goal disallowed for an alleged handball. This signalled a period of pressure from the away side and Ibbetson made two crucial saves to preserve his side’s lead. Chances fell for both sides in the closing minutes, the better of which fell to Axminster who can feel aggrieved not to have got something from the game; but converting chances wins games and Teigns took theirs.
FT: Teignmouth 2 – 1 Axminster
Spurs Enjoy Sunny Start at Lords Meadow
by Newton Abbot Spurs FC
Newton Abbot Spurs came from behind to start the season with three points at a sunny Lords Meadow.Spurs started with a 3-5-2 formation which the home side exploited at ease early in the game. In only the second minute the home side had their first chance, Josh Badham found space in the Spurs box and his shot across goal was tipped wide by Spurs No.1 Bradley. The home didn’t have to wait long to take the lead that their play deserved in the twelfth muinute. The onrushing Bradley could only half clear a through ball straight to Creddys Richard Blake and he chipped the ball into an empty net from 35 yards. Spurs were dealt a blow seven minutes later when centre back Glen Palmer went off injured with a recurrence of a knee injury. Tom Dare replaced the experienced defender and Spurs reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with the substitute slotting in at right back. Jake Elms went close to equalising for Spurs but saw his 25 yard effort fizz over the bar. Crediton then had a chance to extend their lead on 31 minutes but Matt Woodwards half volley flew across goal. Elms once again went close for Spurs, after playing a 1-2 with Tom Sercombe, he fired straight at home keeper Lee Waring. The equalising goal came in the fourth minute of injury time and it came through another goalkeeping error. Joe Andrews low free kick was parried by Waring and Sercombe was on hand to poke home. The half time whistle went and somehow Spurs went in level.
Spurs came out in the second half a much stronger unit and limited the home sides chances. Spurs almost took the lead on 54 minutes but Adam Dyson saw his header tipped onto the bar from a Mark Brooke cross. Blake had the chance to put the home side ahead on 62 minutes but saw his volley go inches wide after a knock down in the box. Dyson was to be thwarted by the crossbar again on 64 minutes, Matt Williams header over the home sides back four saw Dyson through on goal and his lob was inches to high for the away sides liking. Dyson was to finally get on the scoresheet on 74 minutes and once again, it was a goalkeeping error that led to the winning goal. Warings goal kick fell straight to Dyson and as he bore down on goal, he placed his shot into the bottom corner to give Spurs a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
A much improved second half performance from Spurs earnt them a hard fought three points on the opening day of the season. Tougher challenges lie ahead with the first of those on Wednesday when they travel to a Brixham team who won convincingly on the opening day.
FT: Crediton 1 – 2 Newton Abbot Spurs
A full programme of nine matches in the East Division saw all six South Devon clubs in the enlarged division start the season. The three new clubs to the division had varying fortunes with Tavistock claiming the highest victory of the day with a 6-1 win at Liverton United, closely followed by Brixham AFC who won 5-1 away at Budleigh Salterton. Devon & Exeter Champions St Martins could not make it a clean sweep though as they went down to a 0-3 reversal at home to Totnes & Dartington. Galmpton United saw off Exwick Villa 4-2 at the War Memorial Ground.