Braunton end wait against ‘bogey side’ Boca

Joseph Bulmer

Rampant first half display ends champion’s unbeaten run

IT’S been two-and-a-half years in the making, but Braunton finally got the better of rivals Boca Seniors with a vintage display of first half football on Saturday.

Braunton ended a frustrating wait stretching back to April 2009 with a 3-2 win in the North Devon Gazette Premier Division.

Champions Boca arrived at Lobb Field with a proud 34-game unbeaten league run to protect.

But after 45 minutes, the 14-month resistance looked in tatters as James Galliford, Russell Harrison and Elliot Whitecross powered Braunton into a 3-0 lead.

Galliford hit the first with a deflected shot into the corner and Harrison fired into the roof of the net after Simon Townsend beat his full-back on the left flank to square the ball.

Two minutes later, Townsend and Galliford combined to play in Whitecross, who held off the centre half to finish well.

All the visitors had to show for an ill-disciplined first half display were a collection of yellow cards for dissent but a half-time rollocking by manager Darren Todd appeared to produce an immediate response with a Tom Marsh goal minutes after the re-start.

Mark Barrow made it 3-2 from the penalty spot with 20 minutes to go and while Boca pushed for a third, the hosts – aided by the excellent Joe Seldon, Radley Watkins and Dave Bennett – were equal to the challenge.

Boca’s disappointment was compounded with the sending off of Scott Sharp in the final minute. The only positive for Todd’s side was the defeat of leaders Ilfracombe Town Reserves at Georgeham and Croyde.

The Hammers took a surprise 2-0 half-time lead through Kyle Savin and an own goal.

Colin Woodcock scored direct from a corner after a goalkeeper fumble and Reid Ecclestone made it 2-2 as the Bluebirds piled on the pressure in the second half.

But with a minute to go, Dale Sawyer pounced upon a loose ball to smash the winner for Georgeham from 30-yards.

Torridgeside went second in the table with a 4-1 win at Shamwickshire Rovers. Torrie rode their luck at times but Shammy only had themselves to blame after wasting a succession of chances at the Pollyfield Centre.

A Carl Mott tap in and an angled Marc Bettiss volley gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break. Bettiss made it three with a 20-yard lob before Matt Downing pulled a goal back for Shammy from the penalty spot.

The host’s Will Nicholls was shown a straight red for kicking out and the match was effectively over when Kyle Paine scored Torrie’s fourth.

Shammy manager Gary Ford said: “I think I counted 19 scoring chances for us and even with 10 men we dominated the possession.

“I’m a realist and I think if we’d have won 4-1 they’d have had few complaints.”

Opposite number Barry Paine said: “We’re playing well and we’ve got some consistency. We’re a difficult team to beat.”

Shebbear United were 4-1 up against Torrington before settling for a narrow 5-4 win.

Shaun Sluggett, Greg Mitchell and Martin Davey gave Shebbear a seemingly unassailable lead before Torrington hit back with goals by Hallum Cook (2), Marc Clark and an own goal. At 4-4, Hook and Clark hit the post and bar and had one-on-ones saved but Davey spared Shebbear’s blushes with five minutes to go when he took the ball on his chest and volleyed home the winner.

Torrington manager Steve Langbridge said: “We were extremely poor in the first half and came off feeling completely humiliated at half time.

“But we showed real character after the break and to come off at the end questioning how we lost the game said a lot about how we turned it around.”

Bratton Fleming beat Dolton 2-0 but had three goals disallowed in between strikes by Marcus Mahoney and Richard Elston.

Barnstaple AAC were beaten 2-0 at home to Bradworthy and bottom side Combe Martin suffered a 2-1 home defeat against Putford. Dan Wilson and Chris Pomeroy scored either side of the break in a match that Putford manager Phil Priest described as “not a classic.”

“Someone said that if the game was shown on Match of the Day it’d be the last game shown,” he said.