Livvy’s Belief Under New Management Team
LIVERTON United have endured too many dark days on the football pitch over the past six months, but the club and players have not wavered in their commitment and belief that a brighter future is around the corner writes Tim Herbert.
The campaign began for Liverton with 16 straight losses in Division One East of the Peninsula League and the margins of defeat grew steadily larger. From nowhere, they produced a miraculous display at title-chasing Torridgeside to earn a 0-0 draw four days before Christmas.
This was followed by battling displays against Bovey Tracey and Brixham, games that ended in defeats, but the manner of performance was a different world from the early months of the season.
The arrival of Steve Breed as joint-manager alongside John Fleet is a sign of that determination to build a positive 2019 and the effect on the players was immediate, as they performed superbly at Ilfracombe Town and were so unlucky to come away without at least a draw.
After completing their longest trip of the season, Livvy went behind to an early goal from Sam Box but fought back brilliantly to level through Chris Newnham. Box restored the Ilfracombe lead before half-time and the scores stayed at 2-1.
However, this does not tell the story of an inspired second-half display from Liverton, backed by noisy encouragement from the new management team and it was a real head-scratcher that the home side just about held on for the win.
Despite the defeat, Liverton can get back to work in training and look forward to a trip to play the University of Exeter at the start of February. There is definitely an upward trend in their form and the realistic goal must be trying to catch second from bottom Budleigh Salterton, who have only managed one win themselves this season, and that was against Liverton.
Budleigh’s momentum is going in the opposite direction and there was little surprise when Newton Abbot Spurs inflicted their 11th straight defeat in the league. Harry Ford was the main man for Spurs, firing in an impressive hat-trick and there were also goals for Dom Osbourne and the Hancox duo of Will and Sam in a 6-0 victory.
While Liverton will fancy their chances at the Uni, Budleigh welcome a powerful Torridgeside on Saturday and need to find some semblance of form from somewhere. The bottom two meet at Liverton on March 23 and, on current performances, it would be a home win on the pools coupon.
Waldon Athletic remain third from bottom and, after a week of disciplinary problems at the club, they faced a strong St Martins side looking to push into the top six. The visitors surged into a 2-0 lead with goals Dan Western and Stuart Davies.
Waldon’s fading hopes were given a lift when St Martins were reduced to ten men but the visitors dug in impressively in the second period, adding more goals through Connor Davies and Harry Walford. A week to forget for Waldon, but they will look forward to a fresh start at Teignmouth next week.
It will be particularly tough for Waldon, however, as the Teigns are undoubtedly one of the form sides in the division. Sean Ayre scored the goal to earn Teignmouth an impressive draw at second-placed Axminster Town and a result that was very welcome at leaders Stoke Gabriel.
The gap at the top is now eight points for Stoke and they have two games in hand on Axminster. Stoke were far from their fluent best on the weekend but still had enough in their tank to beat Crediton 1-0, thanks to a goal from Liam Moseley.
Brixham and Bovey Tracey are two of the sides in that chasing pack, and the Fishermen were ruthlessly efficient in defeating Honiton Town 3-0 on Saturday. Stuart Bowker gave Brixham a half-time lead and there was a second from Steve Bowker on 52 minutes. Reece Somers rounded off the triumph for Brixham, who travel to Crediton next week.
Bovey, meanwhile, were involved in another thriller, drawing 3-3 at Torridgeside in a barnstorming game of football. Ollie Aplin scored twice for Bovey and a goal from Lewis Perring, but it was not quite enough to secure all three points.
The final game of the weekend was a big one for Elmore, as they fought back from conceding an early goal against Sidmouth to emerge victorious. Jordan Bastin scored both the goals in a 2-1 success that keeps Elmore in the title mix.