Middleton calls on fans after Ilfracombe suffer battering at Larkhall

PUBLISHED: 11:16 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:17 13 January 2014

Ilfracombe Town player/manager Ross Middleton

Ilfracombe Town player/manager Ross Middleton

Archant

Larkhall Athletic 7-0 Ilfracombe Town

Ilfracombe Town manager Ross Middleton has called on supporters to get behind his Ilfracombe Town side ahead of a relegation showdown with Bishop Sutton this Saturday.

Ilfracombe need to bounce back quickly after a depleted side suffered a torrid afternoon at league leaders Larkhall Athletic on Saturday, with the ruthless home side putting seven past Ross Middleton’s side.

It took only 10 minutes for the home side to find the breakthrough. Combe didn’t deal with a near post corner and Tyler Sibbick had the simple task of tapping home from 2 yards out.

The second goal wasn’t far behind and as Larkhall kept up the early pressure, as Rob Hobbs headed home from close range to double the lead.

The Bluebirds couldn’t get out of their own half and it was no surprise when a third and fourth followed before half time.

A young Ilfracombe side looked shell-shocked after being totally outplayed for the first 45 minutes, and the pressure didn’t let up in the second half as Larkhall continued to move the ball with pace and accuracy.

Combe to their credit didn’t start lumping the ball out of the ground and kept trying to play from the back and showed glimmers of what they can produce. Unfortunately, on the day they were up against a superior side and things were only going to get worse before the final whistle.

Sibbick got his second - again from a corner – before Jonny Davoile helped himself to a tap in after some tidy passing. Nat Auckland completed Combe’s misery when a rebound came back off the post and fell neatly into his path.

Ilfracombe will have to get the result out of their system as quickly possible, with a big game at home to bottom of the league Bishop Sutton on Saturday.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up; they were in a completely different league to us today,” said Ilfracombe manager Ross Middleton. “That’s the best western league squad I’ve ever played against.

“There have been lots of tough tackling, hard working horrible sides over the years but they’ve got a bit of everything, they play the best football in the league by miles but can mix it when they need to. They’ve got pace, power and their confidence is through the roof.

“I’ll be surprised if anyone beats them this season, especially at home.

“It was a tough afternoon for my lads but you have to learn from it and look at them as something to aspire to. They haven’t become a good team overnight, they work incredibly hard and the majority of their team have been together for years. They want to go up, they’ve got the resources to bring lads in from higher leagues and at the minute we’re not at that level.

“We’re a young squad and that makes us a little bit naïve but lads are stepping up in their first or second season together, so we’ll keep improving and moving forwards.

“We have a big game on Saturday, it’s a chance to show what we’re made of and bounce straight back. I hope we get a big crowd, the more support the lads can get the better.”

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