Holders defend cup with four star show

Joseph Bulmer

Bluebirds march on after 4-0 Les Phillips win

ILFRACOMBE Town began their defence of the Les Phillips Cup in style with a 4-0 win against Westbury United on Saturday.

The scoreline in Wiltshire could have been far greater as Barry Yeo’s side exercised their creative talents against the mid-table Division One Toolstation Western League side.

On a day dominated by heavy showers ‘Combe played some nice football and took just five minutes to break the deadlock through Ross Middleton, returning to the side for his first start this season following his recovery from tendonitis.

Steve Holland cut the ball back to Middleton, whose low drive took a slight deflection on its way into the back of the net.

The visitors doubled the advantage on 35 minutes when Tom Rossiter broke free and applied the calm finish.

In fairness, it was Westbury who finished the half with a flourish. And they would have found the net were it not for full-back Josh Heafield’s brilliant goal line block with the final kick of the half.

A more open second half saw the hosts push forward and move the ball around well but it was ‘Combe who took a 3-0 lead on 51 minutes.

Scott Huxtable – on for Robert Gough after he suffered a set back with his injured calf – drilled the ball across goal for Shaun Lewis to tap in easily.

Five minutes from the final whistle Ilfracombe booked a place in the next round with a fourth goal, this time a fine finish from Huxtable.

Meanwhile, Barnstaple Town came away from Radstock on Saturday with their second Western League Premier Division win, and their first away from home, this season.

Town took the points 3-2 against a side just one rung off the bottom of the table.

They were always in front after Billy Hopcroft put them ahead in the opening half.

Fellow striker Lewis Coombes made it 2-0 after the break and although Radstock pulled one back, the gap was soon restored when Hopcroft slotted home his second to give Town a 3-1 advantage.

When Radstock lost a player for a double yellow it should have been easy, but the home side caused some anxious moments when they struck again. Town held on, however, for an important win.

They are in FA Vase action this weekend at home to St Blazey, ko 3pm.

Ilfracombe face a tricky trip to second placed Larkhall Athletic in the league.