Braunton and Boca prepare to do battle
PUBLISHED: 09:17 23 April 2014
This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League round-up
BRAUNTON opened up a six point gap at the top of the premier division in a busy week of North Devon Gazette Football League action.
Braunton notched back-to-back wins this week, winning 2-0 at North Molton last Wednesday through Tom White and Alan Woodcock, before narrowly overcoming Fremington on Saturday.
Mark Gilfillan bagged a brace and Sam Box was also on target as they won 3-2 to claim a 12th consecutive win in the league and open up an advantage over Boca Seniors ahead of their vital clash on Wednesday.
Boca, though, have three games in hand on Braunton and recorded two wins of their own this week.
They beat Torrington 3-1 on Thursday evening, before hammering Chittlehampton 6-1 on Saturday.
Scott Sharp scored braces in both games, with Whitecross (2), Lishman and Thorne all scoring on Saturday and Deakin finding the net two days earlier.
The top two have been trading blows all season, with both sides looking almost invincible for the duration.
Braunton will hope to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered at the hand of Boca in January – still their only defeat of the season – when they travel to Boca on Wednesday evening with everything to play for.
The race for third also now looks like being a very interesting one, after Torrington followed their defeat to Boca with an altogether more surprising loss at Bradworthy.
Bradworthy won for just the sixth time this season thanks in no small part to Matthew Carter’s hat-trick. Gary Clarke also scored for the home side, with Torrington’s goals coming from Kai Dymond (2) and Malcolm Stewart.
Bideford Reserves currently sit third, but a 4-0 thumping at North Molton on Saturday could harm their chances of holding onto that position.
Daniel Chalk scored twice, with Andrew Alexander and Chris Dent also finding the net for the Stags.
Bideford beat Ilfracombe Reserves 2-1 earlier in the week.
Defending champions Torridgeside are also in with a shout of third, but a 3-1 defeat at Appledore Reserves on Saturday will not help their cause.
Barnstaple AAC could also challenge for the position, and showed good form to pick up seven points from three games this week – scoring 13 goals in the process.
They started with a 3-0 win at Appledore on Wednesday, before a 3-3 draw with Shamwickshire Rovers on Saturday.
They then hit top gear on Sunday, putting seven past Georgeham and Croyde to cut the gap to Bideford to ten points with several games in hand.
Elsewhere at the weekend, Ilfracombe Reserves thrashed Dolton 8-0 on Saturday before suffering a hiding of their own on Sunday, losing 6-1 to Shammy Rovers.
PARK United made a major statement in the Senior division title race with a 3-2 win at leaders Braunton Reserves.
The Saturday clash could have a major bearing no the destination of this year’s title, with Braunton setting the pace for most of the season so far.
But the win for Park means the fate of the title is in their hands, trailing Braunton by 23 points – but with nine games in hand.
Tom Hunnibell twice found the net for Braunton, but goals from Martin Edwards, Ricky Marinaro and Darren Polhill secured a big win for Park.
Park will hope to reduce the gap further tonight (Wednesday) when they host Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves.
They also won last Wednesday, beating Merton 5-2 as they look to make up matches on their rivals.
Landkey Town remain in between Braunton and Park in second place, and made a statement of their own with a 14 (fourteen)-1 hammering of Shammy Rovers on Saturday.
They, too, have a number of games in hand on Braunton and could get within three points should they win each of those games.
Barnstaple FC also closed the gap on the sides above them by beating Northam Lions 7-0.
Tom Nash scored five, with Connor Nash and Marcus Mahoney also on target as Barnstaple kept the gap to Park at seven points, having played the same number of matches.
Woolsery remain on track for a fifth-place finish after a 5-2 win at Ashwater, which kept them above North Molton Reserves with a game in hand.
North Molton, meanwhile, picked up a maximum six points this week, winning 1-0 at Shammy Rovers on Tuesday before beating Merton 3-2 on Saturday.
Saturday’s goals came from Dan Milewski (2) and Thomas Fanthorpe, with Brendan Harris and George Nancekivell scoring for Merton.
At the bottom of the table, it was a good week for Torridgeside Reserves, who followed a 2-1 win over Putford on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over Morwenstow Reserves on Saturday.
The wins take them out of the bottom two into 14th, two points ahead of Combe Martin.
That gap would have been wider but for a fine Combe Martin performance on Saturday to beat Putford by five goals to three.
In Saturday’s only other senior division fixture, South Molton drew 1-1 with Lynton and Lynmouth.