Somerset County Premier
Nailsea United 2, Watchet 3

WATCHET paid their third visit to Nailsea in seven weeks last Saturday and gained a measure of revenge over United for their penalty shootout Senior Cup reverse by taking home all three points.

Having twice lost the lead Watchet edged the issue with a winner deep into stoppage time, when a share of the spoils would probably have been the fairest outcome, with all five goals coming in a see-saw second half.

On a bog of a pitch which the referee deemed only just playable, the visitors struggled to get a foothold going up the slope first, and Nailsea looked the livelier outfit in the early exchanges.

Despite having more of the possession Nailsea did not create anything clear-cut and the visitors gradually began to pose an attacking threat, with Aaron Deeks shooting straight at the keeper from 20 yards.

Tom Sparks was denied by a last-ditch tackle, before the best chance of the half fell to Deeks from a Sparks pass, but the ball got tangled up between his feet and in the mud as he attempted to round the keeper.

A messy half in more ways than one ended with Watchet short in most areas and knowing they would need to up their game on an energy-sapping surface.

They were given the boost of taking the lead soon after the restart when the Nailsea keeper failed to reach halfway with a clearance and Aerron Clausen’s immediate through ball saw Sparks reach the ball just ahead of the goalie, with the resulting collision producing an obvious penalty, which Deeks despatched with aplomb.

Within five minutes the home side were back on level terms with a spot kick of their own, after Jamie Milton’s intervention was adjudged to be a deliberate handball and Hope sent Adam Bishop the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Play was end to end, but Watchet got their noses back in front when Chris Sully’s interception of a short corner led to them sweeping downhill to the other end, where Connor Jeromson did well to keep the ball in the left corner before delivering a chip into the goalmouth, which found Charley Clausen to nudge a deft header just inside the far upright with the keeper again rooted.

But once more their advantage did not last long, as Nailsea broke up an attack and surged forward with a passing movement, which finished with Hope turning to fire into the corner of the net to make it all-square again.

Matt Heywood cleared off the line after Bishop had been lured out of his area and sidestepped, while substitute Brandon Walsh sent an angled shot just wide at the other end on his return appearance.

Nailsea thought they were about to go ahead for the first time when Lester’s 18-yarder looked destined for the top corner, until Bishop took off to his left to somehow claw the ball away for a corner.

Loud home appeals for a second penalty were ignored before Watchet thought they had been awarded one themselves when Mikey Bailey was sent tumbling as he went to pull the trigger six yards out with just the keeper to beat, only to be booked for what was adjudged to be a dive – when he seemed certain to score.

The decisive moment came in added time when Deeks slipped a pass through for Sparks to latch onto and calmly flick his shot past the advancing keeper.

There was still time for a couple more scares at the other end from a free-kick and a corner, but this time Watchet held on.

Watchet: A Bishop, C Sully, M Heywood, J Milton, C Shopland, C Jeromson, C Clausen, M Bailey, A Deeks, T Sparks, A Clausen. Subs: S Bruford, B Walsh and B Robinson (all used).

  • ON CHRISTMAS Eve the Red & Blacks play their return local derby away to Staplegrove (ko noon) in their last appearance in 2016.


Somerset County Division 1W
Minehead 2, Glastonbury 0

MINEHEAD climbed to fourth position in the league table by winning their third consecutive league match after a fairly even battle with their former Western League rivals Glastonbury Town on Saturday.

Early exchanges saw neither team particularly dominant, a theme which remained for the majority of the 90 minutes of play.

After visiting keeper Tom Balch had pushed a goal-bound effort from Guy Burns around the post, the resulting corner saw the Blues take the lead when Chris Newbold stooped low to head home from an acute angle at the near post, through a pack of players.

The plucky Glastonbury side came back strongly and had more of the next period of play, belying their lowly position, however it was Minehead’s Luke Howells who next tested a keeper with Balch good enough with a fine save.

It was Balch again shortly afterwards making an excellent save from Robert Vickers’ opportunist attempt from Burns’ pass.

After the break, however, the visitors failed to trouble the home defence and with Harry Scatchard placing the ball home with an accurate shot from 25 yards mid-way through the half, the final result started to look in little doubt.

Nick Mortimer came close to reducing the deficit when his free-kick beat the wall and hit the post, but keeper Nathan Sheehan was the far quieter of the two and Minehead’s lead was held for the rest of the game.

Minehead: Nathan Sheehan, Matty Ronan, Luke Bloys, Mike Mullen, Chris Newbold, Stefan Phillips, Harry Scatchard, Luke Howells, Robert Vickers, Max Smith, Guy Burns. Subs: Callum Barnfield, Aaron Ireton (both used).

  • MINEHEAD host Highbridge Town on Christmas Eve (ko 2pm).