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Ilfracombe’s search for points continues as they slide into the bottom two

16:33 20 February 2014

Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe 'keeper Kurtis Parkin kept a clean sheet for the first time in nine games as his side finally picked up a league win

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Hallen 1-0 Ilfracombe Town

A gutsy performance at Hallen on Wednesday night wasn’t enough to stop Ilfracombe sliding into the bottom two of the Toolstation Western League Premier division.

The Bluebirds were beaten 1-0 by their mid-table opponents, while Hengrove Athletic overcame Longwell Green Sports to leapfrog Combe – who now only have Bishop Sutton below them.

Ilfracombe were the better team for large periods of the night, hitting the post, having shots cleared off the line and seeing a hat full of penalty shouts waved away. Combe did manage to get the ball in the Hallen net, only to see the linesman’s flag raised and the goal chalked off.

Hallen hit the post with a terrific first half free kick and also went close when their striker rounded ‘keeper Kurtis Parkin but couldn’t finish from a tight angle.

Steve Holland was unlucky to see his strike hit the foot of the post, and Edd Yeo’s effort was blocked well after Matt Beveridge cushioned a header into his path, while Mark Clunie stung the keeper’s hands with a couple of long range drives.

The second half was more of the same, as Combe pressed but failed to find the breakthrough.

Hallen went long and after Ian Cockwill failed to clear a hopeful ball forwards one of their midfielders smashed home from 20 yards out. It was a harsh blow for the away side, who had looked comfortable at the back all night.

Combe pushed for the equaliser, and after seeing another penalty shout waved away, Stan Paxton was adjudged to have been offside when he finished off Kane Dryden’s pass.

Gary Skinner saw a deflected shot go agonisingly close and Paxton beat the keeper with a brilliant header from a free kick only to see it spin over the bar after taking a wicked deflection.

Kurtis Parkin almost made himself the hero with the last kick of the game, connecting with a volley from a corner but failing to find the back of the net.

“We needed an improvement in performance after Saturday and the lads certainly did that,” said Ilfracombe player/manager Ross Middleton.

“We were the better team, no doubt about it, but it’s fair to say we’re not getting what we deserve at the minute. We made one mistake at the back all night and they scored from it, the lad would hit row ‘Z’ 9 out of 10 times with his shot but they seem to be flying in against us at the minute.

“It happens in football and it’ll turn in our favour if we keep performing like that. We could have easily taken six points from the last two games and no one could have argued we didn’t deserve them but we’ve got nothing so we have to roll our sleeves up and start getting points from the next game.”

Ilfracombe’s task of picking up points continues on Saturday, when they travel to Odd Down.

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