With players missing, Fremington’s Mark Sanders made a perfect switch from his normal left back to front runner, hitting the ‘perfect hat-trick’ as the league leaders ran out 4-1 Combe Martin Cup winners at Lynton and Lynmouth. Chris Boreham was their other scorer.

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With seven of their 13 players who beat Pilton the previous week missing, it was always going to be a difficult game for Lynton.

Sanders opened the scoring for Fremington after just five minutes, but the rest of the half was largely uneventful, with neither keeper being seriously tested. Fremington went 2-0 up after the break. Craig Corry responded for Lynton with a good strike from outside the box, but they lost shape after Steve Kingdon was taken off injured and Fremington knocked in two more in the final 15 minutes.

Combe Martin came back from an indifferent first half to win 4-3 in a ding-dong game at home to Bude.

The Cornishmen took the lead after just seven minutes and held it to the break. A better second half saw Combe draw level after Carl Power made up for a penalty miss by scoring just two minutes later. Bude went ahead again, only for Nick Copeland to make it 2-2 with a deflected free kick and Carl Power then put Combe ahead for the first time. Back came Bude again with their third and with only four minutes to go extra time looked on the cards. But Simon Townsend made up for an earlier penalty miss with the matchwinner from the spot on 89 minutes.

Torrington were 2-0 winners at home to North Molton Reserves, but were mystified as to why they did not score more.

Manager Nick Taffs said: “How we did not score more, I do not know. We had 85 per cent of the game, but could not find the scoring touch. We hit the woodwork four times and had a penalty well saved.” But an own goal in the first 10 minutes was all that separated the sides until substitute Sam Parrish eased the Torrington nerves with a second goal five minutes from the end.

Merton were only in front once in a nine-goal thriller away to Woolsery, but it was the once that mattered as they came through 5-4.

Thgere was never more than a goal in it as Ryan Mudway opened the scoring for Woolsery and the score then went 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 and 3-2 in their favour by half-time.

The second half progressed the same way to 3-3 and 4-3 to Woolsery before Merton had the last say, their winner coming with seven minutes to go.

Woolsery’s other goals came from Josh Johnson, James Arbuthnott and Alan Shaw and the Merton scorers were Sam Davey, James Ashton, Sam Munday, George Nancekivell and Nathan Delaune.

Carnival Day and a visit from the carnival queen did not bring luck to South Molton as they went down 4-0 to Braunton Reserves, although it was an improvement on the 9-1 defeat in their previous meeting.

Braunton hit two goals in each half, by Callum Goss, Jason Pontin, Chay West and David Mason.

Northam Lions suffered from a lack of available players, with a lot of phone calls before all three of their teams took the field with just one substitute each.

Their first team, including second and third team players, dipped out of the cup 2-0 away to Shamwickshire Reserves, although they held out until the final 10 minutes of the match.

After failing to make first half dominance count, Shamwickshire lost their way in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but pressed again towards the end and Charlie Harding stepped up to net twice in five minutes to put them safely through.

The match was ended two minutes early after Shamwickshire’s Phil Kemp suffered a head injury and was knocked unconscious. He was taken to hospital, where he had 19 stitches inserted in a damaged lip.

A Shammy spokesman thanked the Lions both for agreeing to end the game and for their help in attending the injured player.

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