Uhlsport Somerset Division 1: Minehead AFC 2-3 Saltford

LOCAL supporters witnessed an entertaining game at The Recreation Ground on Saturday when the visitors from near Bath ran out 3-2 winners in a particularly close game, writes Brian Walder.

The first opportunity fell early on to Saltford defender Corey Clifton whose left footed shot from close range was a touch wide, but The Blues responded well and Benn Bartlett went close after a fine run and centre from George Sinnott.

Minehead fell behind in the 10th minute when Harry Green poked the ball home after a miscued attempt at a clearance fell kindly to him.

The visitors doubled their advantage on the half hour when Myles Jefferies received a perfect lay off and gave Minehead keeper Nathan Sheehan no chance from 12 yards.

The game flowed from end to end and after Guy Burns’ goal-bound effort from close range was brilliantly blocked by centre half Mayson Evans, it was Harry Green who struck again.

Having beaten Sheehan to a loose ball in the box he was forced wide, but managed to quickly control the ball, and cutting inside beat the last defender and passed the ball into the empty net to make it 3-0 after with just thirty-five minutes played.

The game was far from one sided, but the visitors were certainly more clinical in front of goal. If Minehead were to have any chance of salvaging anything from the game they had to score the next goal; thankfully for the home crowd they did so just three minutes later when after Burns had won a direct free kick Stefan Phillips scored from 25 yards.

Before half time the fifth goal of the game brought Minehead right back into contention when a move on the left flank featuring Burns and Sinnott enabled Sam Heath to run through the centre and side-foot confidently home from the edge of the box.

At half time Hubi Wejnerowski replaced Heath, and the second half saw Minehead’s passing game come more to the forefront as they took more control of the ball and pushed hard for more goals.

Burns shot just past the post and after a double substitution which saw Martin Phillips and Alfie Lyons introduced, the latter substitute shot just wide after another penetrating run from Sinnott.

In the dying seconds Benn Bartlett’s header from Sinnott’s perfect cross appeared to have won a share of the points but the ball had made the side-netting ripple from the wrong side of the far post.

Minehead will need to convert their chances more frequently if they are to get back amongst the leading clubs, having now fallen to a mid-table position.

Minehead travel to Somerset Premier League club Chard Town this Saturday where they will be in Somerset County League KO Cup 2nd Round action, hoping to secure a place in the last 16.