Red hot Appledore thaw frosty Molton

Joseph Bulmer

Fishermen beat the leaders and return to the top of the table with 4-2 win

APPLEDORE switched places with North Molton thanks to a 4-2 win that saw them return to the top of the North Devon Premier Division on Saturday.

The Fishermen thawed the turf at Rocksfield with a red hot first-half performance that saw them go three-up before the half-time break.

Despite the match referee passing the pitch safe, a handful of North Molton players felt the game shouldn’t have been played and some were still dragging their studs as the visitors raced into a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes.

Rob Avery opened the scoring before 16-year-old debutant Tom Barton smashed a 25-yard left foot effort into the top corner to mark his arrival since a pre-Christmas switch from Woolsery.

Dave Brown scored the third as North Molton struggled to pick themselves up.

Stags skipper Jon Lloyd had been forced to retire from central defence through a groin injury after 15 minutes and manager David Peters reshuffled the pack at half-time to play three at the back and chase the game.

Molton responded with new-found energy and Scott Bryant pulled one back 20 minutes into the half.

“They were chasing as many shadows in the second half as we were in the first,” said Peters, who was licking his wounds after seeing his side suffer their first league defeat since August.

But despite Molton’s efforts, Nick Fishwick added a fourth for Appledore with a far post header from a corner before Ben Keighley scored a late consolation for Molton from the spot.

Appledore manager Kevin Fishwick said: “It was the best we have played all season and in the first 45 we were absolutely awesome.

“It’s probably the best they’ve played since I’ve been in charge at the club – we’d have given any side a run for their money on Saturday.

“I have to constantly change around my formation from week to week as players come in and out of the first team and although it’s not an ideal situation, the lads that are coming up into the side are all putting in fantastic performances.”

Also in the division, Ben Ford, Tom Hayne, Sam Schiller and Will Nicholls were among the goals in Shamwickshire Rovers’ 4-1 home win against Georgeham & Croyde.

The win saw them climb into third in the table above Boca Seniors, who have still only played eight games in the league this season.

Also leapfrogging Boca were Dolton thanks to a 2-0 win against Barnstaple AAC.

In other results, Reid Ecclestone scored two second-half goals as Ilfracombe Town Reserves came from behind to draw 2-2 draw at Braunton.

Jordarn Darch and Callum Norman had given the hosts a 2-0 lead at the break and while Braunton were left ruing disallowed goals either side of the break, manager Mark Harris admitted his side had turned from Jekyll to Hyde during the course of the 15-minute interval.

Combe Martin were awarded a home walkover against Bideford Reserves, who were unable to raise a side for the fixture at Hollands Park.