Tuesday, May 1, 2012
THE twists and turns of football are as intriguing at the top of the North Devon League Premier Division as they are in the Football League.
With just two matches to win to be champions, Braunton slipped at the weekend, leaving the door ajar for reigning champions Boca Seniors to take the title for the sixth time in seven seasons.
Saturday brought Braunton a 1-0 defeat at home to third-placed Ilfracombe Town Reserves . Mark Gilfillan scored the all-important goal 15 minutes from the end, but Ilfracombe could have had more.
Disappointed Braunton manager Mark Harris said they had had a good run matches unbeaten, but had got by with injuries and unavailability recently and had had to dig themselves out of some holes on the way.
This was just a game too far. They had looked a tired unit and were just not good enough on the day, he said.
Boca made up leeway with two weekend wins - 4-2 at home to Bradworthy on Saturday and 8-2 away to Dolton on Sunday.
But it was not without an early shock as they fell 2-0 behind by half-time at home to Bradworthy, for whom Tudor Placinta scored both the goals. Bringing on top scorer Scott Sharp, who had been sidelined through injury, made the difference in the second half as Boca show greater determination and were soon rewarded when a long Sharp throw was headed home by Mark Thorne. This was followed by another fine free kick from Mark Barrow to draw level. A Sharp cross was well met by a diving Matt Deakin to put Boca in front and Sharp finished off with his 40th goal of the season.
Dolton had held Boca to a draw earlier in the season. This time Boca raced into a 2-0 lead within 15 minutes thanks to Tom Marsh. Dolton pulled one back before the break, but this only sparked more Boca determination in a second half, which saw three more goals for Marsh, one from the spot, plus one from Matt Deakin and two by Jack Jenkins. Dolton’s goals came from Ben Lake and Will Clarke.
Braunton are not beaten yet. They will battle on, with a tough final game away to Shamwickshire Rovers on Saturday. Victory there would mean Boca still having to win their final three league matches in a week to snatch the league title by one point.
Shamwickshire kept themselves in the top six with a 6-2 win at home to Bratton Fleming. It was Bratton who scored first through Matt Beveridge, but they then had a man sent off for handling. Shammy missed the penalty, but went 2-1 up at the break with goals by Tom Phipps and Ben Evans-Loude. Ten-man Bratton could not hold out as Evans-Loude, Will Nicholls, Sam Schiller and James Bateman added more for Shammy before Marcus Mahoney pulled a late goal back.
Georgeham and Croyde were 4-2 winners at Shebbear, who struck first through Greg Mitchell, but then fell 2-1 down at the break and were 3-1 behind when they had keeper Lee Jenkinson sent off. Georgeham pushed 4-1 up, their goals coming from Dave Newsom (3) and Alex Marks before Shebbear grabbed a late second through Matt Facey.
Barnstaple Ammies continued their push away from the bottom with a 3-2 win over Torrington which keeps them safe, while Torrie are destined for the drop. Ammies went 2-0 up with goals by Adam Chugg and Steve Isaac, but Torrie drew level with goals by Callum Cook and Tom Bulley, before Oliver Rigler grabbed the winner in the final 10 minutes.