Stoke Sweep Torridgeside Aside, Teigns Climb Table and Brixham’s Title Drive is Over
Stoke Gabriel enjoyed back-to-back wins and clean sheets as they knocked seven past Torridgeside to stay just ahead of the chasing pack in the South West Peninsula Division One East. With Newton Abbot Spurs held 2-2 at Galmpton United, Teignmouth moved level on points in second spot with a 3-0 triumph over Exwick Villa.
It’s still very tight at the top with five sides separated by just five points going into the final month. But the gap between them and the rest of the division was highlighted at Broadley Lane as Stoke Gabriel stormed to a 7-0 home win over fading new boys Torridgeside, the team who had beaten them 5-4 in the reverse fixture. In wet conditions, Stoke turned on the style in the first half, producing some of their best football to date. Olly Critchlow almost broke the deadlock after a quick-paced start but his 14th minute header was tipped over by visiting goalkeeper James Greenaway. The same player then saw another headed effort land on top of the net from Dean Stevens’ corner on the half hour mark. A minute later, Stoke were finally celebrating a deserved lead when Tom Kelly beat his marker before taking the ball past three defenders and crossing superbly for Sean Finch to finish with his head. Ryan O’Callaghan then headed Josh Webber’s corner against the bar and Webber drove in from the left before striking the post as the woodwork conspired to keep the score down to 1-0 at the break. With the rain intensifying, the second half brought an early scare for the hosts, Scott Corderoy beating away a dangerous cross. Ten minutes in, the pressure was lifted a little when Finch headed a second, this time from a Morgan Harford cross after Stevens had spread the ball out to use the renowned width of the GW Churchward Ground pitch. On the hour mark, Stevens saw his long range shot deflected out for a corner but eight minutes later he made no mistake with another low shot from distance, Greenaway a spectator. In the 71st minute, Critchlow’s effort came back out to Stevens again who repeated the feat from 25 yards out to make it 4-0. Finch then produced a solo effort to complete his hat-trick as the visitors crumbled. Critchlow saw a shot go wide and substitute Louis Roberts forced Greenaway into another tip-over as Stoke pushed for more. Critchlow finally made it 6-0 with five minutes remaining, converting Webber’s cross with his head, and completed his brace when he followed up Dan Kingscote’s shot for an easy finish.
Newton Abbot Spurs travelled the short distance to Galmpton United as they sought to keep pace with Stoke. They took the lead six minutes from the break, courtesy of an own goal, but the Greens found an equaliser with 12 minutes remaining through Danny Gaze. Spurs must have though they had nicked it when Liam Jones found the back of the net with a minute on the clock but Gaze spoiled the party with a stoppage time equaliser. With Appledore hammered 9-1 at the University of Exeter, a win for Teignmouth would move them level second with Spurs. In the end it was a comfortable victory for the hime side who scored three with no reply from Exwick Villa at Coombe Valley.
Brixham AFC fell out of contention with a loss away at Bovey Tracey in another South Devon derby. All was even and goalless up until the 70th minute when Callum Leech set up Joe Bushin for the side-footed opener for the Moorlanders. Leech then doubled up with a low left-footed shot after having the ball pulled back to him. Bushin made it 3-0 when he headed home a Hatherly free-kick. Axminster Town were frozen out of the top three as visiting Totnes and Dartington held them to a 0-0 draw.
Liverton United hosted relegation-threatened Budleigh Salterton on a sodden pitch at Halford. In an even first half, the crossbar thwarted the home side just before the break. The Robins responded by edging ahead on their next attack, Callum Shipton finding Mike White who took the ball past a number of Lillies defenders before powering home inside the near post. Karl Everest gave Liverton the chance to draw level after bringing down a home player in the box, Neil Last firing home the spot kick just after the hour mark. The decider came four minutes from time, White the provider and Rafael Catille-Jos with the strike which lifted them closer to safety.