Unplayable: Jordan Ewing was a class act as Buckland took their chances in a 4-1 home win over East Allington. (c)MiraclePR
In a game which could turn out to be a rehearsal for the Herald Cup Final, Buckland Athletic Reserves sent out a clear message that they are still the team to beat. The Yellows, with 12 league wins in a row under their belt, played host to an East Allington United side who themselves had been on a roll since mid-November with six consecutive league victories and progress on three cup fronts. But despite being one down at the break, Bucks scored four times in the second half to collect the three points.
Although the bulk of the first half was played in East Allington’s half, the South Hams side were playing well, containing and frustrating Buckland. Chances were few and far between but the visitors took the first one they had, the returning James Ivatts turning his man and putting Simon Hannaford through. The prolific striker found the net with a fine finish from the edge of the box after 17 minutes, the goalkeeper getting his hand to the shot but unable to alter its trajectory enough to keep it out. Tempers began to boil over as the half came to an end with a low Jordan Ewing shot the closest Buckland came to scoring, Richard Teague doing well to both see and get down quickly enough to parry away the effort from behind a crowd of players.
Two goals in the first five minutes after the restart turned the game on its head. First, the home full-back supplied a long ball which the lively Ewing, outpacing the East Allington defence, latched on to before slipping the ball past Teague on 47 minutes. Then, three minutes later, the unmarked Sam Peardon directed a superb low header into the net after a free-kick from the right. United never really recovered from that early shock and Buckland began to take control. Nevertheless, the Pirates could have been awarded a spot-kick when Tom Rowdon was brought down in the box. There was little doubt about the foul but the offside decision which caused play to be pulled back to before the incident was less clear cut. After bringing on Lee Morgan to bolster their attack, East Allington were beginning to grow back into the game only to concede a killer third seven minutes from time, a defensive slip allowing Ewing through again and the hitman punishing the visitors with a clinical finish from just outside the box. Moments later and Teague was picking the ball out of the net again, Lewis Perring powering home a fine header after a great cross as East Allington struggled to regroup. If there was any consolation for the Pirates it was that they will know what they are up against should the sides meet again on Good Friday. First, Buckland have to get past Roselands on Wednesday night’s semi-final at Newton Abbot Spurs while East Allington play Watcombe Wanderers a week later at Homers Heath.
Waldon Athletic moved up to second spot with a narrow 3-2 victory at Brixham AFC. The Clarets got on top from the off but a resilient performance from the Fishermen kept them out for over half an hour. Eventually, Chris Harrity hit a post, leaving Gary Doyle to open the scoring. Zak Gleeson soon got the second after Ashley Harris beat five players down the left. Tom Holland smashed in the third from outside the box which should have put the game to bed but back roared Brixham with two penalties in two minutes, both well taken, one to each side of the goalkeeper. However, the Clarets dug in for the last ten minutes to collect the three points. Ashburton slip to third after a shock 3-0 home loss to struggling Loddiswell Athletic who take a huge stride towards securing another season in the Premier; the South Hams side scored all of their goals in the first half, supplied by Kieron Trent, Rob Tapper and Dave Poyser, with his first of the campaign. Time is almost up for Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves though; defeat at Upton Athletic next Saturday will see Spurs relegated as they lost 5-2 at home to Ivybridge Town Reserves in their six-pointer, Matt Joy scoring from open play and Ryan Fawden with a penalty for Spurs.
Elsewhere in the Premier, a Nick Miller double saw Upton Athletic defeat Watcombe Wanderers 2-1, Kingskerswell and Chelston triumphed over visiting Dartmouth AFC by the same scoreline and Kingsteignton Athletic came from behind twice to overcome Ipplepen Athletic 7-2 with seven different players scoring for the Rams. The Pens went one up within the first ten minutes but by 14 minutes it was all level, Kyle Bassett heading home at the near post from a Nathan Isaac corner. Five minutes after that, Pens were awarded a penalty and went back in front before The Rams found a second equaliser on the half hour mark. Two minutes before the break, James Findlay put the hosts in the lead for the first time and Tom Reeves made it 4-2 in the 46th minute. The next goal didn’t come until ten minutes from the end, Connor Grose adding his name to the score-sheet, but that was quickly followed by two more, Ben Stephenson finding the net five minutes from time and Ryan Frayne adding a seventh with a minute remaining. Ipplepen, who had already been reduced to nine men during the game, lost a further player after the whistle.
A single goal was enough for Buckland Athletic Thirds at Forches cross as the Division One leaders beat Harbertonford to go seven points clear at the top. Paignton Villa got back to winning ways, racing into a 5-0 lead by half-time at Bovey Tracey Reserves en route to an 8-0 victory. Villa move above Roselands, who were without a game, into second spot. Golding scored on his debut for Chudleigh Athletic but it was not enough to prevent Newton Abbot ’66 from picking up the points, the Sixes winning 2-1 to break into the top three. A first league game since late January saw Totnes and Dartington Reserves pick up another three points at home to Babbacombe Corinthians, extending their winning run to four in all games as they prepare for a tough Dartmouth Cup semi-final at Roselands next week. Stoke Gabriel Reserves also warmed up for their semi-final – at home to Chudleigh – with a third successive win, beating relegation-threatened Kingskerswell and Chelston Reserves 4-0.
Ashley Yeoman smashed home four for Salcombe Town to help move the Crabs into the semi-finals of the Lidstone Cup, Nick Bonnet and an own goal completing a 6-2 win at Brixham Town. Town will also be pleased to see their Division Two lead only eroded by a single point – to eight – as Buckfastleigh Rangers could only draw at Stoke Gabriel Thirds; Ashley Beetschen increased his goal tally with a brace for the Railwaymen. Paignton Saints’ title charge gathered momentum with a convincing 5-1 victory at Waldon Athletic Reserves, maintaining their 100 per cent away record. In-form Shaun Cotton followed on from his hat-trick last week, firing home in the seventh minute after Adam Taylor could only parry Jamie Micklewright’s shot. Aaron Underhill then doubled Saints’ lead with a well-timed run and composed finish from Cotton’s through-ball. Cotton was soon on the scoresheet again, powering in his second, from Underhill’s corner, to give Waldon a mountain to climb. Next to score was Luke Johnson: with his back to goal, Johnson cleverly flicked the ball past his marker and beat Taylor at his near post to make it 4-0. Saints were looking very comfortable in possession and kept the ball for long spells until a lapse in concentration down the flank afforded Waldon a consolation goal. Waldon’s joy was very short-lived though: within minutes, Jamie Micklewight started and finished a move to calmly slot the ball past the advancing ‘keeper. Liverton United Reserves enjoyed a first win in three with five goals and a clean sheet at home to Bishopsteignton United. Paul Bramwell struck twice to help Hookhills United overcome AFC Staverton 3-0 at Whiterock. Shaun Wingrove also found the net in a fine result for the Paignton side who moved above their opponents into fifth place. Teignmouth Reserves moved off the foot of the table with back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Jared Roe, Harry Payne and Luke Blackburn scored for Teigns in a 3-2 home success over Newton United who found the net through Middlehurst and Williams.
Braces apiece for Andrew Espley and Charlie Ross kept Broadmeadow STFC three points clear at the summit of Division Three as the top three all produced away victories. Broads came away from Abbotskerswell with a 4-2 win; Ben Bowhay netted twice for Meadowbrook Athletic at Ipplepen Athletic Reserves in a 3-1 triumph which also saw Sam Benjamin-Guest notching another and Riviera United also enjoyed a 3-1 success at Buckfastleigh Rangers Reserves. After a goalless first half, James Parker put Rivi one up three minutes into the second period. Rangers equalised in the 65th minute but substitute Shane Essam put the visitors back in front just five minutes later and Stephen Rohan found a third two minutes after that. Teign Village enjoyed successive wins and their first league clean sheet of the season as they won 2-0 to send Harbertonford Reserves to a third defeat in a row. East Allington United Reserves cruised their six-point relegation tie at home to Upton Athletic Reserves. Kriss Attiwell and Josef Sita claimed hat-tricks, Watson put away a double and Hutchings scored in a game that ended 9-0 at Poole Lane. The Pirates are now just a point behind Upton with a game in hand.
Barton Athletic make the last four of the Les Bishop Cup with four goals and a clean sheet at Osborne Park, Newton Abbot ’66 Reserves eliminated. Kingsbridge and Kellaton United went back to the top of Division Four after overcoming Newton Rovers 3-1, Guney Even with Rovers’ consolation. Torbay Police Reserves also move up, taking second spot with a 2-1 home win over Paignton Villa Reserves. The Bees went one down at around the 25 minute mark and the score remained 1-0 at half-time. After the break, an excellent corner from Mike Raddon resulted in Lee Langley rising highest to power a header to the ‘keeper’s right and into the back of the net. Not long after this, a 30-yard drive from Nick Warran, sent in from the left flank, was parried onto the bar by the Villa ‘keeper only to be slotted home by the hard working Luke Bowser. After knocking Dittisham United out of the cup by default last weekend, Ashburton Reserves hit them for seven in the league, Dittisham with only one goal in response at Shinner’s Meadow. Broadhempston United finally saw their 13 game losing streak come to an end with a point at Torquay Town, 1-1 the final score on a heavy pitch with the home side scoring from the penalty spot.
Once again, Stoke Fleming and Strete came as close as anybody to taking points off Bishopsteignton United Reserves but again they lost out by a single goal. It took until the last 20 minutes for Bishops to break the deadlock but Pete Summerfield and Craig Stonelake eventually delivered the goals they needed for a 2-1 home win. Bishops finally go top of the league with 15 wins out of 15 games. Newton United Reserves have experienced an improvement in form of late and they dealt Riviera United Reserves a surprise blow to their promotion bid with a 2-0 home win, Crowhurst and Bradford with the goals. Babbacombe Corinthians Reserves moved to within four points of Rivi with a comprehensive 7-2 victory over Brixham AFC Thirds, Connor Charlesworth with a hat-trick, Marco Armbruster with a double and Almardi Folloni and Lee McArthur completing a fine afternoon for Corries. Paignton Saints Reserves were also celebrating by the end of the afternoon, securing another league win despite a late Watts Blake Bearne AFC fightback. After being knocked out the Bill Treeby Cup, Saints were determined to keep their hopes of promotion on track and started well. They pressed high, made the better chances and with a little bit more luck could have been out of sight by half-time. It took a nice through-ball from Rich Cadwallader for Matt Furness to break the deadlock and Furness then added his second and 20th of the season about five minutes later to give Saints a 2-0 lead at half-time. WBB got one back midway through the second half as Saints’ defence switched off. But the two goal cushion was restored; after a scrap in the WBB box, the ball fell to Jason Dingley to poke home from five yards out. WBB came again and scored another with about ten minutes left so Saints had their backs to the wall but some solid defending and good saves from new ‘keeper Jimmy Spriggs meant they edged this one 3-2; Cory Brennan and Liam Hancock were the goalscorers for WBB. Elsewhere in the bottom tier, Hammon’s hat-trick saw Chudleigh Athletic Thirds beat Newton Rovers Reserves 3-0 while Barton Athletic Reserves devastated bottom side Malborough United with 13 goals and a clean sheet to boot.
Finally, there was one county cup game played involving a South Devon club. Torbay Police had plenty of possession but came up against an inspired goalkeeper as they exited the Devon Intermediate Cup 4-1 at the semi-final stage. Max Prestwood found the net for the Bees but Chaddlewood Inn go through to the final against Royal Oak FC.
Roselands’ Devon Senior Cup semi-final was called off due to a waterlogged pitch while East Allington United are also still yet to play their Devon Premier Cup semi-final.