Stoke win a Thriller, Teigns Miss Golden Chance & Bucks Held (Local Football Round-Up)
Buckland Athletic could have gone into 2016 in the top three with a win away at bogey side Willand Rovers, but instead, a healthy home crowd of 121 saw the hosts drew level on points in a largely forgettable goalless draw at windy Silver Street.
In contrast, Stoke Gabriel fans were treated to a goalfest and, even more importantly, a morale-boosting victory against high-flying Ivybridge Town. The opening goal came seven minutes in, Ryan O’Callaghan heading Robbie Bowker’s cross into an unguarded net but, true to form, the Railwaymen let the advantage slip nine minutes later after Nathan Murphy was unable to keep out a superb curling shot from the right-hand side. But the hosts retook the lead on 30 minutes when Ollie Aplin’s shot squirmed under the ‘keeper. This lead lasted just one minute before Lee Doel controlled the ball with his chest, turned his man and powered past Murphy from just inside the box. After the break, Stoke took the lead for the third time when O’Callaghan’s long-range shot took a fortunate deflection. This time, the Railwaymen doubled their advantage after Aplin found some space before firing home for his second. Robbie Bowker’s 65th minute penalty eased nerves further, but the Bridgers netted a penalty of their own just five minutes later to herald a period of intense pressure for Stoke. But Tim Potter’s men held on for consecutive wins and can start looking up the table in 2016.
Teignmouth will be disappointed they couldn’t have made more of Axminster’s surprise win at St.Martins last week after they lost out 2-1 at home to Newton Abbot Spurs. Will Matthews set up Jake Chisholm who converted from close range, just before half-time, to give Spurs the advantage and, four minutes after the restart, Matthews provided the assist to Matt Williams who made it two for the visitors. A 68th minute strike by Lance Clarke gave Teigns hope of getting back into the game but it was not to be and the Coombe Valley side succumbed to their first home league defeat of the season.
Galmpton United will go into the New Year in the top half after their 2-1 win over neighbours Brixham AFC. Goals from George Dandridge and Dan Broadway had put the Greens in a commanding position before the Fishermen scored to set up an exciting finish.
The SDFL had already ended their 2015 last weekend with a last handful of games as the rest of the region suffered a washout. In the Premier Division, the bottom two faced each other at the Loddiswell Playing Fields, with hosts Loddiswell Athletic lifting themselves above Kingskerswell & Chelston with a 3-2 victory.
There were no games at all in Division One and just two in Division Two where leaders Roselands gathered another three points by beating Abbotskerswell 6-2 and Buckfastleigh Rangers moved back into the top three after winning 4-1 at Brixham Town. In Division Three, a home walkover for Salcombe Town moves them up to second spot and means Dittisham United’s search for a win moves into 2016. The only match played in Torquay saw hosts, and Division Four leaders, Barton Athletic beaten 2-0 by Roselands Reserves who move level on points. In Division Five, players and managers from both Moretonhampstead and Chudleigh Athletic Thirds saw their efforts to overcome the dreadful conditions finally pay off after the first pitch inspection had failed. The game duly went ahead with Moreton taking an early lead from an Ashley Skinner free-kick. Moreton dominated possession and went on to take the scoreline up to 3-0 after just 15 minutes with Jordan Clark netting the other two. The home side then scored straight after the break when Ali Chuchuk chipped the ‘keeper from a delightful Keith Sullivan assist. Bottom side Chudleigh enjoyed their share of possession and were rewarded with a penalty which they converted – only to have it cancelled out shortly afterwards by Clark who completed his hat-trick to make it 16 goals in nine appearances for him.