Honiton celebrate first win
AT the 15th time of asking Honiton Town are celebrating a first Division One victory of the league season.
Town were 3-0 winners over Elmore and, as well as being the long-awaited first win, they climbed off the foot of the table.
Perhaps, more significantly, it is now four games without defeat under recently-installed boss Paddy Thomas and the green shoots of revival that appeared in early January now look set to blossom!
Daniel Broom, Shaun Lapping and Tim Genders were the scorers for Town, who are without a league game this weekend.
The sign of a quality side is how they react to defeat, and Seaton Town bounced back from the previous week’s dismal display at Alphington, with a 3-0 Colyford Road win over Wellington.
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There were no goals in the first half, but, after the break, Town took charge and sealed the points thanks to strikes from Jacob Hayes, Miles Alphonse and Brad Groves. A delighted Town boss Josh Stunell said: “We were worthy winners. It was back to basics. I asked the team to keep it simple and they did just that. We had to be patient and, for me, a key factor was how we freshened things up. Miles Alphonse has been a revelation since becoming available on a regular basis.”
Mark Hancock and Richard Challis were two of the players brought in as the Town boss shuffled his side and next up is a trip into Exeter for the Premier Divisions’ Match of the Day, as they face the side sitting immediately below them in the table, Newtown.
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Stunell said: “We have already beaten them at our place and so can travel with no fears but, we need to be mindful of just how good they were in that first meeting. There is nothing between the sides and we will need to serve up similar to the fare we gave against Wellington to get the sort of result we want to bring back.”
Joy, also, for Beer Albion, who registered their sixth success of the season and stay sixth in the top flight, table after a single goal victory over the ailing reigning champions, Thorverton.
James Melville’s first half goal settled the issue at a windswept Furzebrake.
Fishermen boss Mark Ward said: “It was a tough game for both sets of players, with the strong wind making a passing game impossible. We actually played better after the break into the wind. We deserved to take the three points.”
James Melville struck the only goal of the game midway through the first half before limping off with a dead leg, to be replaced by Luke Bartlett.
Matty Rowson spurned a brace of chances and, after great set-up play involving Andrew Foster, Johnny Cooper also put one wide of the mark. At the other end, Mark Rooke’s crossbar came to his rescue. Next up for the Fishermen is a trip to Topsham Town on Saturday a game of which Ward says: “We can go there in great heart, the biggest problem for me now is selecting a starting 11 as all the players are making strong claims for a starting berth.”
After nine straight defeats, the Feniton dressing room was a much happier place on Saturday afternoon after they had beaten hosts Bow AAC 3-2.
At one stage, the Blues looked like they were on their way to blowing that elusive victory opportunity when they let slip a two-goal lead.
Paul Dowling and Jon French had given the Blues the advantage before the hosts stormed back. The character, that has been absent without leave through the Blues’ ranks of late, returned to duty as they dug deep and they were rewarded for their efforts when Charlie Selley popped in the winner.
Ben Allen and winning scorer Selley were the lynch-pins of the success with a great shift in central midfield.
A delighted Mark Kingdon said: “It’s the first time since an opening day win over Sidbury that I have been able to sit back and genuinely enjoy watching a real Feniton performance. Across the park, in testing conditions, we were good, indeed, very good at times and throughout we looked a proper team. Now we need to build on this and produce similar performances on a consistent basis and we will begin to climb away from danger at the foot of the table.”
This weekend the Blues entertain Tipton St John, who will again have in their side for the Acland Park game, former Exeter City legend Steve Flack, who announced his retirement from the game two weeks ago!
There was a heavy Division Two defeat for Colyton who actually struck first at Culm United before being beaten 7-1. Colyton were deservedly ahead when a Callum Somers free-kick cannoned back off the crossbar and fell to George Moore, who scored his first Colyton goal since joining the club from Seaton Town.
That sparked a period of real Colyton dominance and they had what looked good claims for penalties turned down twice before the hosts levelled and, to add insult to injury, with glovesman Kris Reid having to be replaced with what looked a bad injury, they shipped two goals in the 10th and 13th minute of added first half time!
Four second half goals gave the Mid Devon table toppers what, on paper, looked a comfortable victory, but Colyton put enough into their collective shift to suggest that they have sufficient in the side to begin to climb the table sooner, rather than later.
Colyton find themselves just seven points above the drop zone, and, this weekend, they make the short trip to Manstone Road to play Sidmouth Town Reserves.
Offwell Rangers continued their climb up the Division Three table with a 2-1 win over Dawlish United. Rangers, who sit sixth, just five points short of the promotion places, travel to third placed Chard Town on Saturday. With the Somerset side having been beaten just twice this term, a win for Rangers would certainly enhance their promotion claims.
Upottery boss Dan Prettejohn was left very disappointed with his side’s performance against visiting Lympstone.
The villagers led twice, but eventually slipped to a 3-2 defeat. Catalan Pislaru struck both Upottery goals, one of them from the penalty spot.
Prettejohn said: “It was certainly a bad day at the office throughout the team. We never got out of first gear and, that’s despite leading twice. It’s points dropped for me and we will need to show a response in our next game.”
Centre back Gary Moore escaped the wrath of his boss and Moore and Upottery are back in action on Saturday when they face a trip to Pinhoe.
In Division Four, there was a 3-2 defeat for Seaton Town Reserves at Colaton Raleigh. Seventh-placed Town are next in action on Saturday when they go to Okehampton Argyle.
There was a fifth win of the season for Dunkeswell Rovers, who defeated basement dwellers Broadclyst 1-0, thanks to a goal by Dan Snell. Boss Rod Hill said: “It was a good all-round performance and a deserved win.”
This Saturday, the Dunks have the task of trying to tame leaders Dolphin, on their own patch, too. The Exeter side won the meeting at Dunkeswell earlier in the season 4-0.
Beer Albion’s second string were beaten 2-0 at Cullompton Rangers Thirds and, as a result, they stay fifth in the table. On Saturday they have home advantage for the derby meeting with second-from-bottom Feniton Reserves, who were beaten for the 10th time in 14 league outings when they lost 4-1 at home to University at the weekend.
Axmouth United were not in league action on Saturday, but they saw their position at the top strengthened as nearest challenges Clyst Valley Thirds, were held to a 2-2 draw by bottom half of the table outfit, Priory.
Laurie Forino’s men sit four points clear at the top and they have a game in hand on Valley, though the real threat to the United title ambitions looks to be coming from Exmouth Town Reserves, who have games to play to catch up, but, if they won them, would sit clear at the top.
Awliscombe United were 3-1 winners against visiting Culm United Reserves and that leaves the Awls in sixth spot just two points behind second placed Clyst Valley Thirds in what is a very tight top six in Division Six. This weekend, the Awls travel to East Budleigh Reserves.
Honiton Town Reserves went down 4-2 at home to Uplowman. Stuart McKay and Tom Sturtevant scored the Town goals, but the star of the home show was midfielder Scott Bastow. This weekend, the Town second string, who sit a nervy two points off the drop zone, have a Saturday afternoon off.
In Division Eight there was a narrow 2-1 defeat for Offwell Rangers Reserves at Cheriton Fitzpaine. This weekend Rangers host Feniton Thirds.
The Blues’ third team warmed up for the local derby with a 4-2 Acland Park win over Otterton.
Colyton Reserves shared four goals with Tipton St John’s second team. Chris Long and Ed Busby scored the Colyton goals in what was a much improved team performance. This weekend Colyton entertain Okehampton Argyle.