‘Huge effort’ needed from Ilfracombe to avoid the drop

16:22 03 March 2014

Ilfracombe Town manager Ross Middleton will step down at the end of the season

Ilfracombe Town manager Ross Middleton will step down at the end of the season

Archant

Ilfracombe Town 0-3 Slimbridge

ILFRACOMBE’S troubles grew in the lower reaches of the Toolstation Western league Premier division this weekend with another defeat, this time at hmoe to fellow strugglers Slimbridge.

Another opportunity was missed by Ilfracombe on Saturday afternoon as missed chances at one end and mistakes at the other once again left them empty handed, coming away 3-0 losers on the day.

It could have been so different for the Bluebirds, who started the game in a positive mood and really should have punished their opponents after creating a number of very good opportunities.

The first fell to Mark Clunie after Ross Middleton pulled the ball back into his path. The young midfielder is usually deadly from that type of position but this time blazed his effort over the bar.

Middelton himself fired a shot just past the post after good build up play from Clunie, before Edd Yeo and Shaun Lewis both failed to beat the keeper from great positions.

But it was a case of déjà vu for Combe, who having dominated for 44 minutes ended up going in a goal down at the break.

James Mayne was caught dwelling on the ball by Harry Fenner who finished with ease to put the visitors in front.

To make matters worse, Slimbridge then doubled their lead just three minutes into the second half through a Jack Twyman header.

The Bluebirds huffed and puffed, with Clunie looking dangerous from distance, Steve Holland and Edd Yeo having headers saved and Clunie smashing a shot against the post but in truth they never matched the levels set in the first half.

Slimbridge finished Combe off on the break in the last eight minutes, completing a disappointing loss against a relegation rival.

“If you’re not taking your chances at one end you simply can’t afford to make mistakes at the other,” said Ilfracombe manager Ross Middleton. “We’re making life ridiculously difficult for ourselves by just giving games away.

“We created chances for fun in the first half; we battered them for 44 minutes. We could have been four up and I still would have been annoyed because it should have been six.

“Instead we make another school boy error right on half time and go in 1-0 down and then let them have another goal straight away.

“We’ve put ourselves in trouble, no doubt about it. I’ve got my two top scorers on crutches which doesn’t help but we’re creating enough chances to win games and if players keep putting themselves in goal scoring positions they’ll start to hit the back of the net.

“I believe we’re a strong enough group to survive. It’s going to take a huge effort, the lads need to show belief in themselves and one another.”

Ilfracombe travel to Melksham on Saturday, before a home game against Willand on Tuesday night.

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