Somerset County League
Premier Division
Watchet 4, Clevedon Utd 0

GIVING their best overall performance for some time, Watchet swept aside the youthful challenge of Clevedon United last Saturday and completed the double over their opponents.

From the first whistle, the Red & Blacks moved the ball around nicely on the whole and, apart from a few minor scares, they were well in control for the majority of the match.

After the previous week’s postponement the home side made an uncharacteristically quick start with Aaron Deeks shooting wide in the opening minute in their first attack.

Charley Clausen headed straight at the keeper and almost bundled in a long throw from Jamie Milton, while Aerron Clausen forced a flying save following a flowing move as Watchet kept up the early pressure.

The goal they had threatened came when Deeks seized on a loose ball inside the area to whip in a wicked cross for Tom Sparks to fling himself forward to apply the finishing touch with a close range header.

The visitors forced a couple of corners which were dealt with and it was not long before Watchet doubled their lead.

Charley Clausen beat a defender and then reached the ball just ahead of the onrushing keeper with the inevitable coming together bringing an immediate penalty award from the referee and, after visiting protests, Milton drilled home the spot kick.

The Red & Blacks were then grateful for a timely intervention from Eben Harding in the home goalmouth as an opponent shaped to shoot in a rare moment of defensive disarray.

This woke Watchet sufficiently to produce another bout of passing before the interval which ended with Deeks and Sparks paving the way for Chris Sully to advance from midfield and ride a challenge before steering his shot wide of the advancing keeper into the bottom corner of the net.

With a three-goal lead under their belt, Watchet eased off a little in the second half, though an early foray led to Sparks curling a first time 20-yarder inches off-target after Deeks and Sully had combined in the build-up.

Adam Bishop made a couple of routine saves and at the other end some long range attempts failed to trouble the Clevedon keeper.

With Watchet huffing and puffing without creating much and their own goal seldom in danger there was not much to enthuse the spectators.

Midway through the half, the home side made changes and Billy Jones was soon in the action when a reverse pass from Deeks saw him cutting into the box from the right only to shoot wide of the near post.

The visitors then squandered the chance of some consolation with Watchet guilty of pushing too many men forward before the only goal of the half arrived with just under 10 minutes remaining.

A long high ball out from the back was cleverly chested down by Deeks as he burst through the middle past the last defender and he kept his cool to slide his shot past the outcoming keeper into the corner of the net.

To make matters worse for the visitors, a straight red card was shown to one of their players for a comment made to the official as he appeared to think there had been a handling offence and they played out the closing stages with 10 men.

Watchet: A Bishop, R Strong, M Heywood, J Milton, E Harding, C Sully, B Robinson, C Clausen, A Clausen, A Deeks, T Sparks. Subs: B Jones, C Shopland & D Redman (all used).

The Red & Blacks face two league fixtures this weekend with Shirehampton visiting the Memorial Ground on Saturday before Watchet travel to Wrington Redhill on Easter Monday (both 3pm ko).


Somerset County League
Division 1 West
Somerton Town 1, Minehead AFC 0

MINEHEAD took the game to their higher-placed hosts, and for the first 60 minutes it was the visitors who looked by far the most likely to score, their counter-attacking frequently turning the home defence.

After 10 minutes Guy Burns was put through by Mike Graddon, but having outstripped the defence his shot was a foot too high.

Graddon was the next to latch onto a through ball, only for a last-ditch tackle to deflect his shot the wrong side of the post for a corner.

Graddon went closer still when his right-footed shot from the edge of the box came back off the inside of the post, and a dangerous run from Callum Barnfield gave another example of Minehead’s ability to get behind the home defence into goal-scoring positions.

The Blues continued to do the lion's share of the pressing, but the home defence was being marshalled well by former Minehead player Ollie Feltham.

On the relatively rare occasions that Somerton ventured up the pitch, the Minehead defence looked solid and confident, with Darren Sherring in particular sweeping up effectively.

Playing up the slope in the second half, Minehead remained the most offensive side but were unable to break the deadlock.

The home side ground their way back into the game, growing in confidence, and they were rewarded in the final quarter when a deep cross was clinically headed home by centre forward Rhys Dyer.

A 30-yard effort from Graddon went just over the bar, but it was Somerton who finished the game the strongest, with the three points taking them back to the top of a very interesting league table and essentially ending Minehead’s outside chance of sneaking into a promotion place, though it remains mathematically possible.

Minehead: Sam Tarr, Callum Barnfield, Matt Cracknell, Matty Ronan, Mike Mullen, Darren Sherring, Luke Bloys, Chris Newbold, Mike Graddon, Stefan Phillips, Guy Burns. Subs: Rob Vickers (used), Kyran Wilkins.

The Blues' next three games are their final home games of the season, which will leave them five away matches to finish the season.

Easter Saturday sees much improved Winscombe come to The Rec, who have an outside chance of promotion should results of clubs currently above them see points dropped – and with the majority of the top sides still to play each other there will certainly be twists and turns through to end of the season in early May.

Easter Monday brings Burnham United as the opponents at Irnham Road.

Both holiday fixtures kick off at 3pm.