EYE ON THE TOP SPOT: Waldon Athletic’s push for the Premier title gains momentum as the Clarets, led by Dan Harrity, hit Loddiswell for 9 at Windmill Hill.
SDFL Premier side East Allington United became the first team to make the semi-final of this season’s Herald Cup with a 2-0 home win against Division Two hopefuls Broadmeadow STFC. Top striker Simon Hannaford and midfield maestro Andy Davis found the net in a solid performance to put the Pirates one game away from a second successive Herald Cup final after winning the trophy for the first time last season.
Conditions were difficult underfoot at Windmill Hill but Waldon Athletic’s efforts to get their league game on certainly paid dividends for the Premier title challengers even though, with suspensions and holidays taking their toll, it looked like it could be a good day to play them. Visiting Loddiswell Athletic tried to put a spanner in the works but they just didn`t have enough and eventually crumbled to a heavy loss. Nevertheless, the first half saw only the one goal, Tom Holland slotting past the advancing ‘keeper after beating an offside trap which had successfully protected the Greens up to that point.
Ash Harris made it two in the first minute of the second half and, soon after, Kyle Doughty added a third. After that, the floodgates opened: Spike Bond helped himself to two and Josh Briscomb headed in Stan Goulding’s corner. Nick Rudge then dinked in after coming off the bench before Harris and Holland both claimed their second goals, the latter after playing a nice give and go with youngster Ben Clark.
“It looked like it was going to be a hard slog in the first half,” said Waldon captain Dan Harrity. “But once we had put two and three in their heads dropped a little bit and we could pretty much score at will after that.
“It was good to get a few under our belt, especially after such a long break because we hadn’t played since two weeks before Christmas.”
Third-placed Waldon are now just six points behind leaders Ashburton with two games in hand.
“It looks like it will be between us, Kingsteignton and Ashburton at the moment but Buckland are always going to be dangerous and there are a couple of teams, like Upton, who can beat anybody on their day,” said Harrity. “Obviously we’ve done quite well in the cups in the last couple of seasons, winning the Herald and the Belli two years in a row, so the league is something we’re giving a big push to this season.
“We finished second last season so it’s something we’ve definitely got our eye on.”
The sole game in Division One took place at The Berry where Salcombe Town made it three unbeaten with a convincing 5-1 win over troubled Ipplepen Athletic. Ash Yeoman struck a hat-trick with Town’s other goals provided by Charlie Barnes and Kieran Stallard.
One game also survived in Division Two, leaders Bishopsteignton United, who are only six games from completing their league season, making it four wins in a row by beating Hookhills United 3-2 at Broadmeadow Sports Facility. Lee Grimshaw increased his tally for Bishops with their other goals coming from Craig Stonelake and an own goal.
Divisions Three and Four were a complete washout but in Division Five, Paignton Saints Reserves produced the comeback of the day and also their biggest win to date in their home tie against leaders Barton Athletic Reserves. Barton started the stronger of the two sides so it was no surprise when Jody Rooney tapped in after some strong play. Things got worse as Barton won a penalty and Lee Henriques dispatched it well for 2-0. Saints tried to get a foothold in the game and, right on half-time, Matt Reed succeeded in pulling a goal back. Manager Josh Wiginton read Saints the riot act at half-time and it seemed to have the desired effect as Saints came out a completely different side in the second half and took the game to Barton. Sean Hooton almost got on the end of a Jamie Micklewright cross but a Barton defender managed to get his foot in the way to put that effort over. It wasn’t long though before another cross, this time from Reed, was stabbed home by Hooton to level the game. Saints were on the front foot now and again they pushed forward. This time, a nice ball from Micklewright was smashed in by Matt Reed to put Saints ahead for the first time. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Saints put the game to bed. Some nice play between Dave Walker and Micklewright ended with the latter finding the top corner. Barton did try to get another goal but the home side stood firm and managed to see the game out. A massive win for Wiginton’s men means they are now unbeaten in nine and up to third with games in hand. “Matt Reed’s goal, right on half-time, gave us a little boost,” said Wiginton. “In the second half, we came out all guns blazing and never looked back.”