Winscombe 3-1 Minehead

MINEHEAD'S hopes of completing another league double to finish their 22/23 on a high, fell flat during the second half against a no-nonsense Winscombe side, desperate for a victory to avoid relegation in their centenary season.

Showing real determination and aggression from the start the hosts took the lead in the first five minutes when a slick attacking move down the slope resulted in Jake Harris running onto a through ball, which Minehead keeper Kyran Wilkins just reached first.

The keepers’ delicate touch to scoop the ball over Harris’ challenge then span wickedly backwards and into the path of the striker who stroked the ball into the empty net.

Winscombe pushed for further goals but Minehead recovered well and for the rest of the half played some of their most coherent and cutting attacking play of the season.

Sam Heath, who seemed involved in every move, went on one of several mazy runs, and on one such occasion he rode three physical and deliberate attempts to foul or trip him, and it was only on the third occasion that a free kick was finally given, with only the third perpetrator receiving a caution.

Unfortunately, after a few missed chances, there was only one goal secured during Minehead’s purple first half period, scored by Bertie Harvey-Larmar who levelled the scores tapping home at the far post at the end of a fine move.

Mike Graddon, whose trademark long searching forward passes were also a big part of the Blues’ good spell, but he suffered injury and was a passenger for the final ten minutes of the first half and took no part in the second forty-five, when Minehead lost much of their rhythm.

The hosts started the second half very much on the front foot again and within a minute were back in front when Rob Harraway prodded home after a headed had come back off the bar.

Dan Vickers had replaced Mike Graddon at half time and The Blues noticeably missed his natural leadership.

Their attacking play became less prevalent though both Burns and Trump hit the woodwork, as well as the same pair missing chances they would normally have scored from but, credit should also be given for the way they both individually created each of the chances.

Both Dan Vickers and Stefan Phillips had spells at the centre of the overworked defence but then Phillips suffered injury and was soon replaced by Artur Jacaszek with the Blues needing to reshuffle again.

Harvey-Larmar then put through his own goal when trying to clear a dangerous centre. Though now two behind you didn’t really feel that Minehead were out of contention.

Tiago replaced the hobbling Ellis Shaw, but the hosts stood firm. The game became ragged when a few strange decisions by the official resulted in tempers boiling over, but at the end of the day the home side’s desperation to win earned them all three points and they avoided the drop.