Senior title race takes late twist

Joseph Bulmer

Pilton drop more points as season enters crunch ‘do or die’ week

THE North Devon Gazette Senior Division title is still in the balance with just a week to go until the end of the season.

Leaders Pilton Academicals, who have been in near-unbeatable form all season, have suffered a blip with the silverware in their sights.

The would-be champions need just three points to see them over the line but have won just two of their last five games.

This week, Pilton dropped points against Northam Lions and Shebbear United but that would all be academic if they beat Woolsery at Rock Park tonight (Wednesday).

Should they fail, they’ll have another chance to settle it against Chittlehampton on Saturday. In reality, two draws would probably be enough due to their superior goal difference over Bratton Fleming.

Aaron Richmond headed the Accies’ only goal in a midweek 1-1 draw against Northam.

In Saturday’s game against Shebbear, a “panicky” Pilton performance was punished by two Martin Davey goals.

The club’s top scorer gave the visitors the lead 10 minutes before the break. Stephen Robinson equalised immediately after the re-start but goalkeeper Lee Jenkinson put in a man-of-the-match display and Davey headed the winner five minutes from time.

On Sunday, promotion-chasing Shebbear beat North Molton Reserves 8-1. Greg Mitchell scored four (including two penalties), Shaun Sluggett scored a hat-trick and there was a single for James Vanstone.

Bratton Fleming kept the heat on Pilton with two wins this week. On Wednesday, Stuart Cameron, Damian Green, Joe Crush and Maurice Charley scored in a 4-0 win at home to South Molton while on Saturday, Jamie Cameron, Steve Zecchini and Marcus Mahoney were on target in a 3-0 win against Shamwickshire.

On Sunday, Josh Hicks, Tony Burgess and Steve Seatherton scored for South Molton in a 7-3 defeat against Woolsery.

In Intermediate One, Clovelly got one over on local rivals Woolsery Reserves on Wednesday night.

First half goals by Rob Kearney and Adam Wallis secured the derby win for the Black and Whites. Wallis dedicated his goal to his newborn child Poppy.

A brilliant team effort featured an outstanding game from in-form Clovelly goalkeeper Ash Burton.

Congratulations to Intermediate Two champions Northside Atlantic, who were crowned winners following Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Fremington.

Manager Jon Stanton said that winning the league and getting to the Hansen cup final had made for a great season for the lads.

“Everyone has thrown their heart and soul into getting the club through the last two years and the lads fully deserve their league title and promotion,” he said.

“Full credit to Fremington who started off like a train – we had to be at our best in every game to stay close to them.

“On the pitch my defence of Dan Barnes in goal, Andy Clarke, Dave Stanton, Kev Beer and Alex Morgan have been solid and kept 15 clean sheets in all competitions.

“We played 40 competitive games and Kieran Hodge played in 39 of those at left wing back. He was our most consistent and reliable player and didn’t receive a single caution.

“Damo Shaddick has played in all number of positions and always puts in a performance. The midfield of Lee Childs, Matt Cann and the Armstrong brothers Neil and Cyril (Carl) have been outstanding, often coming up with vital goals where needed.

“There have been some crucial performances from Matt Horn, Andy Cook, Brian Cutler, Mark Palmer, Junior Santos and Nick Blight and finally the two lads up front Dan Woolf scoring 38 and Vinny Bott 44.

“I would also like to thank chairman Tony Grills for his hard work behind the scenes, and my assistant Gary “Tanks” Tanton for all his hard work in helping to train the lads.”

Northside played their final league game of the season on Saturday, beating Barnstaple FC 3-2. Vinny Bott (2) and Dan Woolf were the scorers.

In other matches, Anchor Chiefs were awarded the match after opponents Chittlehampton Reserves were found to have fielded too many first team players in Saturday’s match.

Despite the handicap, the Chiefs put up an impressive fight, only “losing” the game by a single goal, Mick Harrison scoring for the Bideford side.