Wanderers fly the flag for the North Devon League in a bad day for local sides

BRAUNTON were in sparkling form on a flat day for North Devon Gazette Premier Division sides playing in the first round of the Graddon Vending Premier Cup.

Braunton were the only victors in Saturday’s matches, with Putford, Shamwickshire Rovers and Georgeham and Croyde all crashing out at the first hurdle and Combe Martin conceding their match at Plymouth Parkway without kicking a ball.

Braunton ran out 4-2 winners against Town and Country Plymouth and West Devon Combination side Roborough.

The visitors looked like they meant business as the tackles flew in during a fiercely contested opening 15 minutes at Lobb Field.

Manager Mark Harris praised referee Andy Woolf for his part in taking some of the steam out of the hostilities.

“The tackles were horrendous at the start but Andy showed a couple of yellow cards to their players and helped calm the game down,” he said.

Braunton took the lead with a superbly struck shot by Simon Townsend on 20 minutes. Townsend smashed a left-footed 30-yard effort on the run as Braunton began to make their domination pay dividends.

Roborough hit back with a free-kick on the stroke of half-time but Townsend restored the advantage with his right and Elliot Whitecross made it 3-1 soon after.

The visitors pulled another back with the goal of the game – a wind-assisted free-kick that left everyone standing as it rocketed into the top corner from way outside the D.

But a round two home tie against Loddiswell Athletic on October 8 was assured when Townsend completed a perfect hat-trick with a header with minutes remaining.

In the league, Ilfracombe will enjoy a week off having gone six points clear at the top of the North Devon Gazette premier table.

The Bluebirds were slow starters against Appledore Reserves at Marshford but came good with second half goals by Mark Gilfillan and Kye Goodman.

“Appledore are a good side and play some good football and it took a while for us to get going,” said manager Steve Boni.

“We missed a couple of early chances that we really should have buried and after going in 1-0 down at half-time, we brought on Carl Power and put Kye wide on the right.

“Mark equalised and we began to settle and started playing better football.”

Goodman scored the winner when he connected at the far post with around 10 minutes to go.

‘Combe’s next match is against Bradworthy on October 1 and Boni said he was pleased with the way the side had started the new campaign.

“We’ve got a great squad that’s playing well together,” he said.

“It’s difficult to keep all the players happy in a squad of 18-or-so but there’s a really good atmosphere running through the club at the moment.

“Kevin (Constantine) and I are still looking to get a couple of players on board that we’ve been talking to and I think that can only be a good thing for the team.”

In other results Torridgeside hammered Bradworthy 7-0 while division new boys Bratton Fleming won on the road for the first time this season.

Bratton bounced back from a heavy defeat last week to outplay Torrington in a 3-1 win at Vicarage Field.

The visitors were denied a succession of early chanced by an on-form Torrington goalkeeper but the breakthrough came in the second half when Joe Toop headed the game’s opening goal.

Joe Gillard made it 2-0 before the hosts pulled one back.

Stuart Cameron capitalised on a rare mistake by the keeper to ensure all three points.

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Graddon Vending Premier Cup Round 2 draw (Ties to be played Saturday, October 8):

Bere Alston United v Appledore; Bratton Fleming v Bluebird United; Braunton v Loddiswell Athletic; Bradworthy v Brixham United; Holsworthy v Kingskerswell & Chelston; Liverton United v North Molton; Boca Seniors v Galmpton United; Dolton v Watts Blake Bearne; Morchard Bishop v Torrington; Hatherleigh Town v Newtown; Upton Athletic v Shebbear United; Staverton & Landscove v Torridgeside; Barnstaple AAC v Barnstaple Town Res