Seven-goal thriller as title contenders clash
PUBLISHED: 17:03 09 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:03 09 April 2013
TORRIDGESIDE struck a significant blow in the Premier Division title race on Saturday when they came back from 3-0 down to hand close rivals North Molton only their second defeat of the season.
The game at North Molton saw the home side race three goals ahead, the first two coming from the penalty spot and converted by Carl Mottram before Tom Marsh hit their third.
Jamie Bright pulled one back for Torridgeside 10 minutes before the break and Marc Bettis pounced on a long throw to head home a second for 3-2 at half-time.
With the bit now between their teeth, Torridgeside dominated the second half, although they had to wait until 15 minutes from the end for Neil Bettis to head them level. Then, with four minutes to go, Rob Holland squared the ball to present a chance that Marc Bettis could not miss and Torridgeside took the spoils 4-3.
The two meet again tomorrow (Thursday) in the Torridge Cup and again on Sunday for the return league match.
Leaders Bideford Reserves, meanwhile, had to work for a 1-0 win in a stop-start game at Ilfracombe Reserves.
Phil Kelly hit the all-important goal midway through the second half in what was not a classic performance, but as a Bideford spokesman said: “It is always good if you can get three points when you are not at your best.”
Reigning champions Boca, whose familiar late season catch-up has taken them up to second place, followed a 3-0 midweek win away to Shebbear with a 9-2 result at home to Chittlehampton on Saturday.
The early stages saw a ding-dong battle as Jordan Hussell put Chittle in front, only to spur Boca into life and they hit back with a brace to take the lead before Hussell struck again to make it 2-2.
A penalty broke the deadlock in Boca’s favour and from there on they moved steadily in front, building to a 5-2 lead by half-time. Both teams had further chances, but it was Boca who made them count, their goals coming from Mark Gilfillan (2), Jack Jenkins (2), an own goal, Scott Sharp, Mark Barrow (2) and Giles Daniel.
The results leave Bideford on top of the table, but Boca now hold the slight mathematical advantage, having only dropped eight points this season compared with nine each for Bideford and Torridgeside and North Molton now 10.
The coming weekend, however, promises to see the tight tangle at the top start to unravel, with clashes between the four close contenders.
Bideford Reserves travel on Saturday to meet Boca, while, Torridgeside and North Molton will on Sunday meet for a second successive weekend.
Fifth-placed Braunton were not at their best at home to Putford, but still came through 3-0 thanks to goals by Nathan Knight, Sam Box and Dave Mason.
Bradworthy gained two timely wins in two days.
They were 1-0 winners at home to Barnstaple AAC on Saturday with a goal by Lee Gardiner and next day won 2-1 at home to Shamwickshire, with goals by Toby Curtis and Carlo Chandler countering a single strike by Sam Schiller for a Shammy side missing men and with changes forcing several square pegs in round holes.
Georgeham and Croyde chairman and secretary Roger Holmes was disappointed by seven missing first team members for their match at home to Dolton and said some players were not showing the commitment that the club deserved. He praised the reserves drafted into the side for a good job done, but said Dolton had proved too strong on the day.
Dolton won the match 3-1. They went 2-0 up by the break through Rob Knight and Elliot Brant – his first senior goal. Shaun Creely pulled one back for Georgeham after 60 minutes and they started to put their hosts under pressure before Knight burst through and hit a powerful shot from an acute angle for the goal of the game after 75 minutes to make it safe for Dolton.
Shebbear were 3-0 winners at home to Appledore Reserves.