This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League round-up
BRAUNTON are back on top of the North Devon Gazette Football League Premier division after crushing third-placed Bideford Reserves 5-1 on Saturday.
Braunton took advantage as Boca Seniors failed to secure maximum points for only the second time this season away to Shamwickshire Rovers.
Rovers gave arguably their best performance of the season so far to halt rampant Boca, holding them to a 2-2 draw which saw them drop below Braunton on goal difference.
Boca do, however, still have a game in hand on their title rivals.
Braunton were in destructive form, and despite a Rik Williams goal for Bideford, a Simon Townsend brace and strikes from Mark Gilfillan, Russell Harrison and Ross Maynard made sure of the points for the new leaders.
Braunton will have the opportunity to widen the gap at least temporarily this weekend, as they travel to struggling Georgeham and Croyde while Boca do not have a game.
Torrington are now closing in on third place themselves, sitting seven points behind Bideford – but having played five matches fewer.
They got back to winning ways on Sunday after their defeat at Barnstaple AAC last week, this time beating Fremington in a difficult away assignment.
Torrington can close the gap further tonight (Wednesday) when they host Georgeham, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dolton.
It was a difficult weekend for Fremington, who as well as losing to Torrington only managed a point at home to Bradworthy on Saturday.
The game finished 2-2, leaving Fremington in sixth but now five points off Torridgeside in fifth and six behind Torrington.
Torridgeside are still well in the hunt for third after a convincing 3-0 win at North Molton Sports Club.
Harry Stevens led the line with two goals for the visitors, with Simon Grigg also finding the net for the defending champions.
Torridgeside travel to Shebbear United on Saturday.
Ilfracombe Reserves are another team currently on the up, picking up a second win in a row against Georgeham on Saturday.
Combe’s second XI were in good form on Saturday, and won comfortably thanks to goals from Brodie Montague, Ray Squire, Robert Taylor and Ryan Welch.
Combe are in cup action on Saturday, taking on Bideford Reserves for a place in the Brayford Cup final.
Dolton were also winners at the weekend, beating bottom of the league Chittlehampton by two goals to nil.
Chittle will once again search for a first win of the season when they host Fremington on Saturday.
BRAUNTON Reserves had to settle for four points from their two games at the weekend, taking them 15 points clear in the Senior division.
Braunton were lucky to come away with a point from their trip to Barnstaple FC on Saturday, grinding out a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Alan Woodcock and Danny Ball.
But they were back to winning ways again on Sunday – their 17th in 20 league games – with a 4-2 win over Ashwater.
Woodcock netted two more, with Matt Hunt and Nathan Knight both also on target for the runaway league leaders.
Landkey could still be in with a chance of chasing Braunton down though, and did their case no harm on Saturday with a 4-2 win over Woolsery.
Although 16 points off the summit, Landkey do have four games in hand ahead of their clash with Lynton and Lynmouth on Saturday.
Park United also look in good shape, but now have a slew of matches to catch up on.
Park were in county cup action this weekend and fell even further behind – they’ve now played six games fewer than Braunton – but could go top if they win all of those matches.
South Molton have moved themselves clear of the foot of the table with a second successive victory on Saturday.
Molton beat fellow strugglers Combe Martin by two goals to one, with James Campbell opening the scoring just before half time.
The game looked to be turning 10 minutes into the second half, though, as Molton were reduced to 10 men when last man Mitchell Wensley brought down his opponent inside the box for a penalty.
Combee Martin converted, but it was to be Molton’s day thanks to a 70th minute winner from new signing Ricardo Marques.
Ashwater’s stop-start campaign continued on Saturday, as they secured a point at Putford.
Both teams look destined for mid-table finishes and the sides couldn’t be separated at the weekend as the game meandered to a 1-1 draw.
There was also an important win for Lynton and Lynmouth, who can now start looking up the table after beating Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves.
BRAUNTON have three teams at the top of their respective divisions with the thirds now four points clear atop Intermediate One.
Braunton recorded a dominant 4-0 win at High Bickington on Sunday to bounce back from only their third defeat of the season so far at home to Anchor Chiefs a day earlier.
Chiefs put themselves right back in the title hunt with a 3-2 win over Braunton and have a game in hand on the league leaders, currently sitting six points adrift.
Charlie Harding, Joseph Sherman and Daniel Stubbings secured the points for Chiefs, while Stephen Penrose and Ross Wensley were on target for Braunton.
Clovelly put a dent in the title hopes of Pilton Academicals, dealing them a 3-0 home defeat on Saturday.
Pilton beat their opponents 7-0 in the reverse fixture in November, but it was a very different story this time.
Academicals are still only 11 points adrift, though, with four games in hand, and face a key battle with Braunton Thirds on Saturday.
High Bickington went fifth with a 1-0 win over Barnstaple FC Reserves, and Torrington Reserves moved up to eighth by beating Northam Lions Reserves by five goals to two.
HAXTON Rangers were handed a surprise defeat on Saturday at the hands of Woolsery Reserves.
Leaders Haxton had only lost one game all season prior to Saturday’s game, where Woolsery produced one of their finest performances of the campaign so far to bag all three points with a 3-1 win.
Haxton take on Woolsery again this weekend, while second-placed North Molton Thirds are back in action with a trip to Anchor Chiefs Reserves.
Chivenor took advantage of neither of the two sides above them picking up points this weekend with a 4-1 win over Hartland Reserves.
Chivenor are now within five points of the summit, ahead of a trip to Putford this Saturday.
Braunton Fourths, too, closed the gap on the teams above them with a 2-0 win at Georgeham and Croyde Reserves, although they have played more games than any other side in the division.
Appledore Academy are also clinging on to the coattails of the leaders and managed to keep their unbeaten run going with a 3-2 win over Putford Reserves.
They then followed that up on Sunday, beating Lynton and Lynmouth Reserves 3-1 and going fifth in the process.
Woolacombe and Mortehoe Reserves also picked up a win on Saturday, beating Merton Reserves 4-2, while Anchor Chiefs Reserves and Chittlehampton Reserves couldn’t be separated in a 2-2 draw.