This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League review

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PREMIER

The last remaining 100 per cent record in the North Devon Gazette Football League was brought to an end on Saturday as Appledore Reserves became the first team this season to take points off of Boca Seniors.

Boca beat closest rivals Braunton a week earlier to extend their remarkable winning streak to 14 matches in the league this season, but had to battle to save a point against an Appledore side which has struggled for consistency so far this term.

A determined Appledore Reserves had gone ahead, but were pegged back by a Ciaron Lishman strike. The prolific frontman has now netted in nine consecutive league games for Boca and has 14 in total for the season.

The point helped Boca to extend their lead at the top of the Premier division to five points over nearest challengers Braunton, whose game at North Molton was a victim of the weather on Saturday.

Torridgeside were on the climb this weekend, as they went fourth with a thrilling 4-3 win at Georgeham and Croyde.

Georgeham went into the game as big underdogs, having only won once all season, but gave as good as they got against the defending champions as the two sides produced a highly entertaining contest.

But Torridgeside’s class ultimately showed as they came away with the three points, winning by the odd goal in seven.

Fremington continued to climb up the table as they beat Barnstaple AAC in a shootout for sixth place.

Fremington came away 3-1 winners to make it four wins on the spin and take them above Barnstaple AAC, another side struggling for consistency this season.

Chittlehampton’s search for a first win of the season will go on for at least another week as they were comfortable dispatched of by Ilfracombe Town Reserves.

Combe recorded their fifth win of the campaign, beating Chittle 3-0 on Saturday to move level on points with ninth-placed Shebbear United.

Chittlehampton will, on paper, have their best opportunity so far to chalk up a first win of the season on Saturday, when they welcome Georegeham and Croyde – the side just above them – to their ground.

SENIOR

Braunton Reserves continue to go from strength to strength in the Senior division as they opened their lead at the top to seven points with a hard-fought win at Torridgeside Reserves.

Lee Eates scored Braunton’s only goal in an evenly-contested match between two sides at opposite ends of the Senior division table as the visitors’ excellent run of form continued. They have now notched up seven wins in a row, while Torridgeside slumped to a fifth defeat in succession which has seen them drop to 13th.

Landkey powered into fourth place by beating bottom club Morwenstow Reserves 16 (sixteen)-0.

It was Morwenstow’s biggest defeat so far of a miserable campaign which has seen them lose each of the 16 matches they have played and register a goal difference of minus 137.

Landkey are now sitting fourth, with games in hand on each of the three teams above them.

After second-placed Park United’s game with North Molton Reserves was called off, Barnstaple FC took the chance to close the gap with an emphatic 8-1 victory over Lynton & Lynmouth.

Barnstaple closed to within two points of second thanks to four goals from Connor Nash, accompanied by singles from Tom Nash, Matthew Wade, Joseph Barker and Stuart McKinnon.

Max Smith was on target for the visitors, but his strike proved a mere consolation as Lynton suffered a seventh defeat of the season.

Woolsery were also in the goal-scoring mood as they put seven past strugglers South Molton.

Woolsery moved up to fifth with the win, ahead of a potentially tight fixture against Ashwater this Saturday.

Ashwater will go into that clash on the back of a classic at Northam Lions, in which the two sides could not be separated.

The game finished 4-4 with both teams creating a host of chances and leaving Ashwater and Northam ninth and tenth respectively.

Putford were also involved in a tightly-fought thriller, holding Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves at bay to earn a 4-3 victory.

The three points helped Putford climb to seventh, while Shammy Rovers stay 12th ahead of their trip to the league leaders on Saturday.

INTERMEDIATE ONE

Braunton Thirds stayed top of Intermediate One with a tough 2-1 victory over Hartland.

Braunton bounced back in their first game since December 21 – which they surprisingly lost at home to High Bickington – to record only their second win in five games in all competitions.

They maintained their slender one-point lead over Equalizers, who were also 2-1 winners at the weekend.

They entertained Barnstaple AAC Reserves, and despite the gap between the two sides in the league table, Equalizers were made to work for the points.

The win keeps them six points ahead of Anchor Chiefs, currently the best of the rest in third. They continued to put pressure on the top two with a convincing 5-1 success at bottom of the table Clovelly.

Woolacombe and Mortehoe Reserves were also winners at the weekend, as they returned from their trip to Ilfracombe Town Thirds with the three points they were seeking.

Woolacombe leapfrogged Ilfracombe to go fourth, and much like Anchor Chiefs above them still have games in hand on the top two.

Sporting Barum fought bravely to earn a point at ninth-placed High Bickington in the day’s only other fixture, which finished three apiece.

Barum will now face Pilton Academicals – still yet to play in 2014 – on Saturday.

INTERMEDIATE TWO

Haxton Rangers managed to usurp North Molton Thirds at the top of Intermediate Two on Saturday as they cruised to a 3-0 win at Chittlehampton Reserves.

The top two have been jostling for top spot over the past few weeks, and it is now Haxton who hold that position – and have three games in hand on North Molton.

Haxton play one of those games in hand on Saturday, when they host mid-table side Anchor Chiefs Reserves.

Braunton Fourths are in danger of falling out of contention for the title after their indifferent run of form continued with a goalless draw at bottom club Merton Reserves.

Braunton have now won only one of their last five games in the league and have slipped six points adrift of Haxton, having played five more matches.

Appledore Academy are one of the sides hoping to take advantage of Braunton’s slip in form, but couldn’t move closer to fourth as they were held 2-2 by Woolacombe & Mortehoe Reserves.

Academy are currently sixth, and host 13th placed Woolsery Reserves on Saturday.

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