Champions Swept Aside as Bucks Send Signal of Intent (Local Football Round-up)
If Buckland Athletic achieve their dream of promotion to the Southern League, then last Saturday’s resounding 4-0 victory away at defending champions Melksham Town will surely be seen as an important milestone along the way.
Even on an ordinary weekend, the feat was impressive, but given the fact that the Yellows had played twice within the previous seven days, both cup matches, both including extra-time and both ending in victories, Saturday’s result becomes quite incredible. Not only does it illustrate the strength in depth that Buckland now have, it is testimony to the management decisions that were made along the way. In short, last week was the kind of week that only champions produce.
Lloyd Gardner has been inspirational this season, and it was some neat passing interplay between the winger and striker Jared Lewington which saw Gavin Hammon open the scoring on 17 minutes with a calm, low shot from the edge of the box. Liam Head, again from Gardner’s cross, showed great footwork to double the Yellows’ advantage with a goal from just inside the box a minute before half-time. Gardner then claimed a goal of his own, Lewis Perring playing the ball to him down the left-hand side and the winger beating two defenders before finishing into the far corner. That was on 65 minutes, and seven minutes later the match was put to bed. Lewington picked up the ball from Shane Gill before turning and blasting high into the net for the icing on the cake.
Buckland are at home to bottom side Welton Rovers today and will be hoping to make amends for dropping two points there just over a month ago.
Teignmouth remain neck on neck with St Martins at the head of the Peninsula Division One East after their unbeaten league run reached double figures last Saturday. Matt Eves and Ben Smith found the net in the first half at Exwick Villa to make it four league wins on the trot. Teigns will be hoping for a repeat of their league encounter as they visit Budleigh Salterton in the Devon Premier Cup today.
Management changes may have unsettled some of our local sides. Galmpton United are struggling to hold on to their top half place after they lost 3-0 at home to Alphington, and Bovey Tracey also conceded three without reply at Axminster.Robert Holman is in temporary charge of the Moorlanders and his side struggled at the home of the Tigers, Luke Finn hitting the bar and the hosts squandering several further chances in a dominant opening third. On the 28th minute, Bovey duly went behind, Finn and Tony Pinder combining well to set up Ben Turner for a simple finish. Nevertheless, the visitors felt hard done by moments later when the referee waved away a decent penalty shout after Mark Smales’ handball. Pinder and Finn continued to make a nuisance of themselves and when the latter went down in the box it was Axminster’s turn to be disappointed with the referee’s decision. That was soon forgotten though: another foul on Finn, a minute into the second half, led to the referee pointing to the spot and Jonny Hurford doubling the home side’s lead.The rest of the game could have seen more goals for the hosts, and indeed they did get another in the last minute. Substitute Nathan Warren did all the running before pulling back for Hurford to wrap up a deserved win.
The South Devon derby at Wall Park proved a one-sided affair in terms of results, but the 6-0 scoreline told only half a story. Goals from Graham Mercieca and Scott Dodgson had put hosts Brixham AFC two to the good before a scratch Tots side lost a player after a clash of heads. The ten men then conceded two more in the second half, through Mercieca and Dan Rankin, before Charlie Johansen, Tots’ young striking sensation had to leave the field through injury. The remaining nine men predictably shipped twice more, through Mercieca and Rankin again.
Liverton United may be only one place from the foot of the table, but the Lillies were unlucky not to gain a point against third placed Tiverton after an attacking display at Halford. Only a goal from Kenny Ord and a heroic performance from Tiverton ‘keeper John Wannell prevented Justin Yeates side from claiming a much-needed point.
Six of the seven remaining Herald Cup quarter-final places were up for grabs this weekend, and most of the places were taken by Premier sides. Buckland Athletic Reserves enjoyed a comprehensive 8-0 victory over neighbours Abbotskerswell; Brixham AFC Reserves knocked out hosts Newton Abbot ’66 2-1 and Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves edged out Division One promotion hopefuls Paignton Villa 3-2 at the Rec. Belli Cup holders Waldon Athletic swept aside Division Two opponents Brixham Town 6-0, while fellow Torquay Premier side Upton Athletic also made short work of Babbacombe Corinthians Reserves, Callum Crews’ sole goal for the hosts not enough to prevent a 7-1 loss. One Division Two side was guaranteed to make it through to the last eight draw though, and Roselands made sure it was them with a comfortable 8-1 win over fellow third tier side Newton United, Jordan Ewing with the visitors’ consolation. Foxhole United will hope to become Division One’s sole representatives in the last eight by overcoming Loddiswell Athletic; the Foxes ran out 5-2 winners at Paignton Saints in their delayed Second Round tie, Saints scoring through Sean Paul Hooton and a Jason Dingley penalty.
Holders and Division One champions Buckland Athletic Thirds secured yet another Fred Hewings semi-final place with a 2-0 victory over Kingsteignton Athletic Reserves from the division below. Watcombe Wanderers Reserves stormed into the final four with a 9-0 triumph over fellow Division Two side Waldon Athletic Reserves. It was an all-Division Three clash at The Hams, with Harbertonford Reserves scoring twice in extra-time to depose runners-up East Allington United Reserves 5-3. There was one confirmed semi-final place for a Division Five side and that went to Torbay Police Reserves who thumped fellow basement side Paignton Saints Reserves 8-1 away, Saints scoring through Sean Hirst.
In the Premier Division, a postponement at Loddiswell meant only two games. Leaders Watcombe Wanderers extended their lead to five points, scoring six without reply at Stoke Gabriel Reserves. Sean Finch (two), Pete Summerfield, Simon Ross, Connor Finch and Ashley Dewdney found the net for the Greens. Kingskerswell & Chelston became the last team in the entire league to win a point with a share of the spoils at Kingsteignton Athletic, 1-1 the score from Broadpark.
In Division One, a point at home to Stoke Gabriel Thirds, who scored through Chatfield, was enough to move Chudleigh Athletic into pole position. Elsewhere, Buckland & Milber moved off the bottom with a 3-1 victory at Totnes & Dartington Reserves, Zak Winter, Harry Noble and Alex Jordan scoring, and Beesands Rovers, who only lost six times in the league last season, fell to a fifth defeat of the campaign. Bovey Tracey Reserves came away from the the Cellars with a 5-2 win, Dave Lang and Finley Bullen with the Bees’ goals. Ashburton (pictured) were 1-0 up at Ipplepen when their match was abandoned due to a player injury.
Division Two saw 19 goals shared between just four teams. Harbertonford reclaimed third place with an astonishing 7-5 victory at Teignmouth Reserves while Bishopsteignton United launched themselves off the bottom of the table by smashing South Brent 6-1 at Michael’s Field; South Brent take their place due to their points deduction.
In Division Three, AFC Staverton storm into second place, beating Torbay Police 1-0 at Churston Grammar School. Dartmouth AFC Reserves moved above opponents Teign Village, Nick Rushe scoring all three goals at Longcross as Darts move up to fourth spot. Salcombe Town managed their first win since mid-October, Tim Stathers, Ollie Stallard and Dennis Corbin on target as Town beat Chudleigh Athletic Reserves 3-1 at The Berry. Dittisham still await their first victory, the Plums drawing 1-1 at Upton Athletic Reserves who have yet to win at home.
In Division Four, Barton Athletic relinquished their lead as they were held 3-3 at home by Torquay Town, Fleet (two) and Heavisides with Athletic’s goals. Broadmeadow take over at the summit after a fine 4-3 victory away at Watcombe Wanderers Thirds. Meadowbrook Athletic shook off their cup disappointments to pick up where they left off in the league; James Howrihane, David Topham and Matthew Evans found the net in a 3-1 home success against Newton Rovers for their sixth win of the season and second in a row. In-form Riviera United continue to climb, a 5-0 win over Newton Abbot ’66 Reserves their fourth league success in a row. Ashburton Reserves scored three times at home to Babbacombe Corinthians Reserves, but strikes from Pope, Pillar and Garswood meant that the Ashes gained only a point to remain winless at the foot of the table. Elsewhere, Kingsbridge & Kellaton United won 4-2 at home to Paignton Villa Reserves while Ilsington Villa went down 3-0 at home to Roselands Reserves.
In Division Five, back-to-back wins sees Riviera United Reserves up to second and two points behind the Police, albeit having played two games more; United won 5-1 at Stoke Fleming & Strete. Buckland & Milber Reserves won 4-0 at Newton Rovers Reserves thanks to goals from Cory Brennan, Matt Winsor, Sean Harry and Jake Lofthouse and Lee Alvey and Neil Thomas earned Barton Athletic a 2-2 draw at Newton United Reserves, Mills and Bundy with the hosts’ goals. It’s now four consecutive defeats for Watts, Blake & Bearne AFC who lost out 3-1 at home to Moretonhampstead.