Minehead 2 Castle Cary 1

Minehead and their visitors from East Somerset Castle Cary, played out a thrilling end to end and largely very even contest on Saturday with the hosts just edging the game winning by the odd goal in three to record their first league double of the season against a much-improved side.

The Blues were strengthened by several returning players and well-led upfront by the energetic Aaron Merry who looked to get through the visiting defence from the start. On his second break through, having beaten the last defender his shot was competently blocked by Daniel Blackburn. Blackburn was in action shortly afterwards and made a good save from a 25-yard goal-bound shot from Luciano Alves look routine.

It was then the turn of Minehead’s shot-stopper to keep his side on level terms when he pulled of a superb one-handed save which would have beaten most keepers at County level. Just after an injury to left back Toby Morris had seen him replaced by teenager Olly Prescott, with Cary gaining more of a foot-hold on play than they had seen during the first 20 minutes, hesitation in Minehead’s midfield allowed Nick Hewlett to run onto a loose ball and he released a powerful right footed shot from 25 yards that curled into the top corner giving Wilkins no chance.

After having had a goal disallowed for an infringement in the taking of a corner kick, Minehead deservedly equalised on the stroke of half-time when a Mike Graddon free kick was parried by Blackburn and Luciano Alves was first to react and the Brazilian slotted the ball home.

Towards the end of an entertaining second half Aaron Merry scored a carbon copy of the visitors’ opening goal to edge his side into the lead. Though there was not enough time for further goals or near misses, there was time for the goal-scorer to be shown a yellow card for a late challenge, and then moments later by petulantly kicking the ball away after it had gone out of play he warranted a second yellow and therefore left the pitch a few minutes earlier than the other twenty-one remaining players.

Minehead: Kyran Wilkins, Rob Vickers, Toby Morris, Stephen Lynch, Mike Graddon, Ryan Wilkins, Tiago Alipio, Hubi Wejnerowski, Andy Hall, Aaron Merry, Luciano Alves

Substitutes: Olly Prescott, Bertie Harvey-Larmar, Guy Burns (all used)

Man of the Match: Ryan Wilkins

The Blues have a free week on Saturday (26th) and then face four away matches during the remainder of 2022, which will test their mettle and resolve.