SWPL: Nine Man Spurs Beaten by High Flying Appledore
Match report by Newton Abbot Spurs
*For all this season’s archived SWPL and SDFL matches, use the ‘Devon Sport’ dropdown menu*
Newton Abbot Spurs fell to their first league defeat since 29th November as Appledore came from behind to earn a 3-2 victory. Spurs player-manager Adam Dyson continued with the same formation that has worked so well in their four game unbeaten run. Jamie Mills, Mark Brooke and Tom Sercombe were all recalled to the side with Gary Fisher and Chris Metters unavailable. Jake Elms dropped to the bench after his start last weekend.
Spurs were to have the first clear chance of the game after just eight minutes. Niall Herbert’s long kick up field was flicked on by Tom Sercombe and Dyson found himself in behind Appledore’s back three. Dyson poked the ball past the keeper but lacked any conviction with the finish and Jamie Frickleton was on hand to clear the ball off the line with ease. Spurs were made to pay for the miss as, three minutes later, their visitors took the lead. A long cross from Mark Thorne caused Spurs’ Number One Herbert more trouble than it seemed it should and Tom Marsh was on hand to tap home after Herbert had pushed the ball straight to him. Dyson went close again for Spurs on 15 minutes but his effort was well blocked after Sercombe’s lay off. Spurs weren’t to be denied for long and deservedly equalised on 17 minutes, Dyson on hand to lash home after Joe Tickle had saved Sercombe’s close-range effort. Spurs’ Chris Darke extended Tickle from 35 yards as the hosts looked to go into the break ahead.
Spurs started the second half very quickly and took the lead just two minutes into it. A defensive error was pounced upon by Shaun Bowden and, after running for 30 yards with the ball, he slid an effort past the oncoming Tickle and into the bottom corner. The goal seemed to galvanise the visitors and Spurs started to dominate the game, maintaining possession as they tried to find a way to put the game to bed. But Spurs’ North Devon visitors’ equaliser on 63 minutes was a carbon copy of their opener. A quick free kick on the right found Spurs sleeping and, once again, a deep cross was spilled by Herbert – with the help of Sercombe who clattered into him – and Marsh was once again on hand to lash home the loose ball to give Appledore an equaliser their possession probably deserved. The hosts were reduced to ten men on 74 minutes as full-back Joe Andrews earnt himself a second caution of the game, leading to a reshuffle for the hosts. Appledore ensured their title challenge wouldn’t suffer a setback as they struck the winner just six minutes from time, Niall Heeney’s deflected free kick wrong-footing Herbert before nestling high into the net, much to the delight of the few travelling supporters. To make matters worse for Spurs, skipper Kevin Dadd was sent off three minutes from time for a “two footed tackle”.
Spurs’ mini revival has been ended by an Appledore side who have now earnt five straight wins themselves. Despite the setback, there is a new belief at Spurs following the four game unbeaten run, and they will be confident of starting another run, beginning with next weekend’s visit of Tavistock.
FT: Newton Abbot Spurs 2 – 3 Appledore
The highest placed side in action were St Blazey who moved up three places to eighth after a 1-0 home win over Stoke Gabriel. Newquay climbed a place as well as they won 5-1 away at bottom of the table Bovey Tracey.
Division One East:
The East division had six of the eight scheduled matches played today with just Okehampton v Galmpton United and Totnes & Dartington v Budleigh Salterton postponed. Leaders Teignmouth pulled clear of Galmpton and opened up a four point lead as they won 4-2 away at Plymstock United. The South Devon “derby” at Halford saw Liverton United beat Brixham AFC 2-0 and the hosts climbed into the top half of the table with the maximum points gained.