Stalemate: Kingskerswell and Chelston ended their season with a 0-0 draw against Upton Athletic at Windmill Hill. (c)MiraclePR.com.
There were 13 league games played on the penultimate Saturday of the season. Few of them had an impact on the outstanding promotion and relegation issues, the exceptions being in Division Two and Three.
In Division Two, Nick Rushe scored eight times for Dartmouth AFC Reserves as they thrashed Bishopsteignton United 14-3 to lift them above Newton United on goal difference and, barring a heavy defeat in their final game at Saints on Saturday, safe from the drop. The other Darts goals were supplied by Ben Greeno (2), Freddie Smith, Armitage and two penalties from Morrallee and Drury. An 11-0 defeat at Buckfastleigh Rangers leaves no way back for Waldon Athletic Reserves though although the Clarets played their full part and were unfortunate not to have grabbed a consolation; Rangers’ Declan Cowley converted the opener from a left-sided cross within the first ten minutes and this was followed by a Tayler Pierce goal after Cowley’s shot had been saved. Hesitant defending then led to Cowley finishing from close range for his second and Rangers’ third. Darren Greep then headed a fourth after another cross from the left before Pierce hit a powerful shot into the top right from just outside of the box for a 5-0 half-time scoreline. The relentless onslaught continued in the second half. Although Waldon did have chances of their own, their defence failed to contain the Rangers attack and Cowley completed his hat-trick after knocking the ball past goalkeeper Matthew James in a one-on-one situation. Cowley hit three more, the first a superb solo effort, the second the result of poor clearing and the third a low shot from the left. Goal number ten was a spectacular overhead kick by Greep with Pierce also grabbing a hat-trick with a finish from the right-hand side; for a full match report and photographs from the Duckspond, see Dave Roach’s report. Kingsteignton Reserves could yet finish in the top six after they defeated Liverton Reserves 2-1.
The only league title left to be decided is in Division Three and Torbay Police got back in their title stride, winning 6-4 in their home game against Ipplepen Athletic Reserves. It was another tricky game for the Bees who struggled defensively, conceding three goals before half time. They did play some nice football at times going forward though and scored four first half goals, the pick of which was a cute turn and finish from Matt Constable, Max Prestwood with the other three. The Police went 6-3 up after the break through Prestwood and Constable and defended much better until conceding another shocker to leave the final score-line 6-4. The Bees face Riviera United twice in midweek and two points from those crunch games will seal the title. In the other Saturday game, a Josef Sita penalty wasn’t enough for East Allington Reserves as they lost 4-1 at home to Abbotskerswell.
The only Premier game played on Saturday was a 0-0 draw between Upton Athletic and Kingskerswell and Chelston at Windmill Hill, with Dom Aplin making a rare appearance in the ‘Kerswell goal. Despite the score-line, both sides played some entertaining football at times.
In Division One, Callum Crews scored twice and there were goals for captain Sam Swann and Connor Charlesworth as Babbacombe Corinthians won 4-2 at home to Totnes and Dartington Reserves in both sides’ final fixtures. Chudleigh Athletic ended their season with a 2-2 draw at Newton Abbot ’66.
Having just secured the Division Four title, Ashburton Reserves went on to win 5-2 at home to Newton ’66 Reserves. Murphy opened the scoring for the Ashes and Roly Blowers put them into the break in front after Newton ’66 had equalised. Daniel Grute extended the lead in the second half but the visitors pulled another one back before a double from Josh Moore needed any hopes of a point. Barton Athletic took their title frustrations out on Kingsbridge and Kellaton United with a 7-0 home win. Paignton Villa Reserves beat Torbay Police Reserves 2-1, Mike Raddon with some good saves to keep the score down and Wes Abercrombie with a penalty for the Bees. Newton Rovers lost out 3-0 at home to Brodhempston United.
The final game of the season in Division Five saw Cory Brennan and Dan Steer score for Watts Blake Bearne but double-winning Bishopsteignton United Reserves score 12 to finish the season on 133 goals.