Uhlsport Somerset County League
Premier Division
Watchet Town 1, Ilminster Town 2

WATCHET paid dearly for a substandard first-half showing as they went down 2-1 to mid-table Ilminster Town at the Memorial Ground last Saturday.

Despite a vast improvement after the interval, the Red & Blacks were unable to claw back a 2-0 deficit which a vibrant Ilminster side fully deserved at the break.

The visitors were much quicker out of the blocks than their hosts and had given a couple of warnings before taking an early lead when a mistake let them in on the left flank and a squared pass was sidefooted in by Andy Whitefield from eight yards out.

For a brief spell Watchet threatened and twice they went close to drawing level, with Tom Sparks sending a left-footed drive inches wide of the far post and then making room inside the box for a firmly-struck effort with his other foot which brought a fine save from Ilminster keeper Chris May.

Ironically, the home side seemed to be finding a semblance of rhythm as half time approached, only for Ilminster to double their lead when Bishop parried a free-kick and Brad Miles reacted first to the rebound to squeeze the ball in.

Upon the restart, Watchet set out their stall by spending most of the time in the visitors’ half.

With a lead to protect, Ilminster defended resolutely and their swift breakaway raids kept the home rearguard on their toes.

With the pressure on the visiting goal mounting Aerron Clausen, Sparks and Chris Sully all had shots blocked by defenders.

Substitute Aaron Deeks went close with his first touch and then his floated pass just eluded Sparks at the far post, but in spite of all this the visiting keeper was not extended.

After Bishop had given a repeat showing of his earlier save, Watchet finally made their territorial advantage pay with less than 15 minutes remaining when Jamie Milton rose to meet Sully’s corner with a thumping header into the corner of the net.

With Watchet committed to piling more men forward, the visitors broke out to force Bishop into another stop and, when the keeper was unable to hold onto a shot, Matt Heywood came to the rescue by clearing off the line.

Watchet were sentenced to finish another game with only 10 men late on, when Ryan Strong was shown a second yellow card for an infringement.

Back at the other end, the guile to create a clear opening eluded the Red & Blacks and their last hopes of avoiding a third home defeat this season went when Sully’s low cross was too close to the keeper and then Milton’s 20-yarder flew just too high.

Watchet: Adam Bishop, Ollie Saddington, Matt Heywood, Jamie Milton, Billy Jones, Josh Heath, Ryan Strong, Chris Sully, Aerron Clausen, Adam Jefferies, Tom Sparks. Subs: Aaron Deeks and Andrew Woodward (both used).

Another tough test awaits the Red & Blacks this week when they end their sequence of home games by hosting the in-form league leaders Fry Club, with Strong serving his one-match ban.

Kick-off is now back to 2.30pm.


Uhlsport Somerset County League
Division 1
Minehead AFC 0, Timsbury Athletic 4

TIMSBURY gained a fully-deserved revenge for a 4-1 cup drubbing at The Rec earlier in the season, with an efficient and workmanlike performance over their recently under-performing hosts on Saturday.

Top scorer Jem Lutwama was the first to test home keeper Kyran Wilkins with a shot and then the same player saw his effort from just inside the box hit the top of the crossbar.

Though the visitors had edged things throughout the first 40 minutes and created more chances, it was Minehead who had the best opportunity to open the scoring when Lee Todd’s shot from 10 yards out hit keeper Charlie Phillips.

Minutes later, the game changed completely when Minehead’s Matty Ronan won the ball in the centre circle, but having landed on his opponent, he was adjudged by the referee to have stamped on the Timsbury player.

Within a minute, visiting captain Ellis Hancock capitalised on a miscued clearance and, from just inside the box, shot home past Wilkins to open the scoring.

Early in the second half, Luke Howells, who had made some impressive runs throughout the first half, saw his shot from 25 yards curl just the wrong side of the post.

George Sinnott then replaced Lee Todd in Minehead’s frontline and, within seconds of arriving on the pitch, had sent in a 25 yarder that Phillips did well to deal with, as Minehead looked to get back on terms.

Around the hour mark it was Ellis who increased the visitors' lead when his glancing header from Toby Neilson’s shot wrong-footed Wilkins and went in off the underside of bar.

After numerous bookings had rained down on both teams, two late goals scored by the hard-working Lutwama after more mistakes in the home rearguard sealed Minehead’s fate and meant another team leapfrogging them in the league table.

Minehead: K Wilkins, S Phillips, C Barnfield, M Ronan, D Sherring, T Hawkins, M Mullen, L Bloys, L Todd, L Howells, C Attwell Subs: M Cracknell, G Sinnott (both used).

Minehead are at Irnham Road again this Saturday, when Wells City Reserves are the visitors (ko 2.30pm).