Somerset County League Division 1W
Combe St Nicholas 2, Minehead AFC 2

MINEHEAD travelled to Combe St Nicholas on New Year’s Eve without five regulars but, on paper, still had a line-up that should have been good enough to dispose of their lowly opposition.

Taking play to their hosts from the first whistle, the Blues took the lead when their second penalty appeal in the opening 10 minutes resulted in Stefan Phillips beating Alex Cunold from 12 yards after Guy Burns had been upended by the last defender.

Combe’s Liam Riste was presented with an opportunity but, having beaten keeper Sam Tarr from a central position, he saw his lob go just over the bar.

Damion Redman, returning after a lengthy suspension, beat Cunold to a loose ball but slotted wide of the empty net.

After Riste had chipped just wide, he levelled the scores just before half-time, capitalising on a defensive slip.

The second half saw the home side seeing more of the ball but Minehead remained dangerous.

As time pressed, Redman missed a golden opportunity to head home when well placed, but it looked as if Max Smith’s late opportunist goal had claimed all three points.

Minehead remained in attacking mode with a superbly worked move ending with Phillips’ 25-yard drive coming back into play off the angle of post and crossbar.

However, with virtually the last attack of the match, Jamie Barfoot reacted quickest when Riste’s effort came back off the crossbar, levelling the scores from a few yards out after Minehead had failed to clear to safety.

The point sees Minehead enter the second-half of the season in fourth place just behind Ilminster Town with a game in hand on the clubs above them.

Minehead: Sam Tarr, Matty Ronan, Andy Gubb, Chris Newbold, Matt Cracknell, Stefan Phillips, Harry Scatchard, Luke Howells, Damion Redman, Max Smith, Guy Burns.
Subs: Callum Barnfield, Ali Harrison (both used), Nathan Sheehan.