What a difference a day makes!
Senior Division leaders Bideford Reserves maintained their unbeaten league record when they beat Pilton Academicals 4-1 on Saturday. But the next day they met again in the Holman Cup semi-finals and it was Pilton who went through 3-0.
The weekend was marred, however, by a serious injury to Pilton’s influential central midfielder Claudio Pinto, who suffered a double leg break in the Saturday match. Luckily he has avoided an operation and was expected out of hospital early this week.
The Saturday game saw Bideford go 2-0 up with goals by Lee Evans and James Rees – their 100th league goal of the season – before Darren Wood pulled one back for Pilton. Ross McGinley made it 3-1 at the interval and Sam Grimley stretched Bideford’s lead in the second half.
But despite their best efforts Bideford were not able to find their scoring boots on Sunday and after Dean John was sent off when they were 1-0 behind, the task became more difficult. Matt Hunt netted twice and Joe Winfield once for Pilton.
Braunton Reserves had a weekend double win, following up a 3-1 league success at home to close rivals Lynton and Lynmouth with a 4-2 comeback win over Chittlehampton in the Holman Cup.
James Scott gave Braunton a half-time lead against Lynton, but the visitors pulled back level before Lewis Morrell and Steve Burley sealed the win.
Chittlehampton were 2-0 up by half-time on Sunday, with a brace of goals from Jamie Gifford. But ‘a few harsh words’ from their manager at the interval saw a reinvigorated Braunton draw back level with goals by Lewis Morrell and a 30-yard James Scott screamer before Steve Burley hit two in the last 10 minutes to complete the turn-around.
It was a second defeat of the weekend for Chittle, who had suffered a 6-1 league reverse the previous day at the hands of a strong Bude side bolstered by some players with higher league experience.
Chittle battled well, but were 3-1 down at the break after one Jamie Gifford ‘goal’ was controversially disallowed before he netted another.
Woolsery overcame the unfamiliar experience of a ball bouncing around on a sun baked surface to beat South Molton 2-0. They scored once in each half through Micha Howe and Adam Symons.
Wrey Arms were 2-0 winners over Barnstaple AAC Reserves, both goals coming from Dan Larcombe after a goalless opening half. With several regulars missing Wrey gave first team starts to 16-year-olds Jake Hawkins and Charlie Watts.
Northam Lions took a significant step away from the bottom with a 7-1 relegation six-pointer win away to Torrington Reserves.
Matt Cloak and Liam Shaxton hit two goals each and others came from Adam Halling, Nick Keen and Craig Russell.