Somerset Division One: Ashcott 4-3 Minehead AFC

A WELL taken hat-trick by top scorer Guy Burns wasn’t quite enough to earn his side any of the available points at Ashcott on Saturday, when Minehead faced their hosts in a competitive game for the first time in their 134 year history, writes Brian Walder.

Minehead opened brightly with sixteen-year-old winger Alfie Lyons causing problems from early on and he nearly claimed the advantage after five minutes but his effort went inches wide of the far post.

 The hosts soon started to test the Blues’ rearguard with long probing balls from full back Dave Bomani, with them starting to edge possession too.

Another ball from deep again caught the Minehead defence and with keeper Nathan Sheehan rushing out of his goal desperately, he was lobbed by the impressive home centre forward Rufid Taylor who lobbed the keeper from just outside the box, giving the home side a deserved lead.

Minehead responded and two dangerous corners within a minute taken by Matty Trump, almost paid dividends.

After Martyn Phillps was booked for a challenge on his winger, things got worse for The Blues when a long free kick from Bomani was left by a deceived Mike Graddon and Taylor ghosted in on his blind side to give the advancing Shehan no chance with a well-placed header.

Early in the second half Minehead came back strongly into contention and Stefan Phillips picked himself up after being fouled in the box but his normally immaculate attempt from the spot went high over the bar.

Guy Burns then appeared to reduce the deficit when a free kick from distance came back off the keeper’s shins and though the Blues top scorer was clearly onside when the kick was taken, when the ball came back off the keeper the hungry striker was first to react and pushed the ball home, bizarrely then being flagged for offside and the “goal” disallowed.

Another of Ashcott’s youngsters Rob Hill put the game further out of Minehead’s reach scoring the hosts’ third from the edge of the box.

Minehead’s fortunes finally changed, and it was Burns who pulled it back to 3-1 with a right footed shot while under pressure having received a sublime pass from Stefan Phillips.

Minutes later, The Blues were right back in contention when Burns, who had looked well offside but the home linesman waved play on, scored competently, beating the exposed Jack Western.

Remonstrating aggressively at the referee, the keeper’s remarks caused a straight red card to soon be shown and the Blues could sniff the possibility of snatching a point or even three which had seemed lost at 3-0 down.

With Minehead going for broke the home side were under siege but it wasn’t too long before they broke swiftly and from just outside the box Rob Hill had an opportunity to shoot. His direct attempt may or may not have beaten Shehan but when it took a wicked deflection, it gave the busier of the two keepers no chance.

Even at 4-2 neither The Blues nor Guy Burns were finished, and his hat-trick was completed by a toe poke at the far post to make it 4-3, recording his 150th senior goal for the club.

The hosts held on for the last few minutes to claim a victory that their performance over 90 minutes probably deserved, but it was a close call at the end.

Burns’ haul however leaves him now just three goals short of becoming the clubs’ fifth highest first team scorer in history, with fourth position then being in clear sight.

Next Saturday brings Nailsea & Tickenham Reserves at Irnham Road and the Blues will be itching to get back to winning ways and reclaim their place in the leading pack. Kick-off is at 3pm.