Western League double disappointment

PUBLISHED: 16:06 20 February 2013 | UPDATED: 16:06 20 February 2013

It was a woeful weekend in the Western League with both Ilfracombe Town and Barnstaple Town beaten by 3-1 margins.

Ilfracombe have a right to feel aggrieved at not salvaging something from the game after dominating the second half.

But the damage was done in the opening half as Melksham’s Gary Higdon first picked up a clearance kick to slot home on half-an-hour and eight minutes later produced a spectacular solo effort, eluding three defenders before crashing home a 20-yard shot for a 2-0 half-time lead.

Ilfracombe dominated possession in the second half and were rewarded when Steve Holland picked up a cross from subsititute Shaun Copp to head home at the far post.

They continued to push, but were unable to find another way through a resolute Melksham defence and the home side made the game safe in stoppage time with a Josh Robinson strike.

After their win of the previous weekend, Barnstaple’s hopes of continuing the upturn foundered at home to a strong Bitton side.

The visitors went ahead with a James Pilling shot from the edge of the box for a 1-0 interval lead and pushed 3-0 in front in the second half as Daine O’Connor picked up a ball from the wing to strike home and Mark Salter headed home from a cross.

Barnstaple showed some good approach play, but were unable to apply the finishing touches before a cross from Jed Harper-Penman resulted in a Bitton own goal.

Barnstaple are due to meet Bitton away in the return tie this Saturday while Ilfracombe entertain high-flying Cadbury Heath.

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