LAST week we took up the story of how close Minehead AFC came to winning the Southern League title in 1976/77... here’s part two of Brian Walder’s tale.

Minehead had suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to title rivals Wimbledon in March 1977, but they reacted in the best possible way - thrashing Hillingdon Borough and then beating fellow high-fliers Kettering.

A win at Salisbury earned them the South Western Floodlit Cup, and on Good Friday they beat Bedford to stay in title contention.

READ MORE: Blues target Football League spot

Table-topping Bath City defeated Minehead at The Rec on Easter Monday, but that was followed by a run of five wins for the Blues.

Margate, Clevedon, Worcester (thanks to a stunning solo goal from Jimmy Jenkins, in front of 1,149 supporters), Maidstone United and AP Leamington were all beaten, setting them up for a daunting midweek trip to Wimbledon.

The Dons were now top of the table and the Blues third, one point behind a faltering Bath; they were six behind Wimbledon, but with two games in hand.

I remember the excitement in the air at Plough Lane, with 2,839 noisy spectators in the ground.

Much like in the game at Minehead, the defences were largely on top, but Dons goalkeeper Dickie Guy was forced to save from Derek Bryant, while Bobby Brown made a goal-line clearance at the other end.

After 20 minutes, disaster struck for the Blues. Wimbledon captain Dave Bassett played a free-kick into the box, Tony Clausen attempted to head it out for a corner, but could only turn it past wrong-footed keeper John Macey for an own goal.

The Blues kept battling and Guy denied Bryant again, with a reflex save to keep out his header.

The experienced home defence soaked up all the pressure that Minehead could muster, with only one other real moment of danger as the end of the 90 minutes drew near.

Bessant’s strong backpass flashed past his own keeper, but it also went narrowly wide of the post, and so Wimbledon made it back-to-back 1-0 wins over Minehead.

Blues manager Bob Boyd said afterwards: “For the second time against Wimbledon we were the better side. But for the second time we did not take our chances.”

Minehead lost their next match, too, 3-0 at Derek Dougan’s Kettering, which was reported to be their worst performance of the season.

An impressive return to form saw them win four away games in a remarkable 10-day period - 5-1 at Margate, 1-0 at Burton Albion, 3-0 at Redditch and a memorable 4-3 victory at Weymouth - but it was too late to catch Wimbledon.

Minehead finished five points behind, as runners-up, so it was the Dons who were elected to the Football League and who would go on to write their own incredible story there.

The Blues finished the season on a high, though, by beating Yeovil Town in the Somerset Professional Cup Final over two legs.

Their season finished on May 26, after 68 games played by an incredibly small squad of players - 28 of the games being in the final three months of the campaign!

The author of this series of articles, Brian Walder, is in the process of writing a book documenting Minehead AFC’s complete history since 1889. Anyone who thinks they may have photos or stories that he may not have is encouraged to make contact via or on 07816 923171. He is also keen to know more about the characters who played in the early years, so if anyone has any information or knows anyone who may have, he would appreciate any help.