Ilfracombe supporters experienced the good and the bad from their team on Saturday as they see-sawed between brilliant and awful and back to brilliant again as they drew 2-2 at home to Bridport.
Manager Barry Yeo kept the same starting 11 that had led Combe to their 2-0 win over Sherborne the previous Monday.
They were quicker to the ball, passing it around a struggling Bridport side with ease and looked the more likely to find a breakthrough. Tom Rossiter and Shaun Lewis found space up front and the tricky runs of Shaun Copp and Steve Holland started to break through the Bridport defence.
Rossiter had the first real chance midway through the half when the ball was floated to the back post and he rose above the defender and headed down towards goal. But the visiting keeper made a good block and a defender cleared.
It wasn’t long before Rossiter had another chance. From a Bridport goal kick, Ross Middleton headed it back and set Steve Holland free on the right wing. He crossed for Rossiter, who controlled, turned and smashed it home with his left foot.
Combe deserved their lead and were disappointed not to extend their advantage before half time.
Bridport came out in more solid shape after the break and Combe started to wobble. Their passing and composure seemed to disappear as Bridport found more time on the ball.
A build up of pressure from the visiting team resulted in a rare moment of madness from Combe captain James Mayne, who brought a Bridport striker to the ground and conceded a penalty, which they struck home despite the efforts of keeper Steve Oliver.
Within two minutes some sloppy defending and a good strike saw Bridport take a 2-1 lead and Combe looked rattled.
But they regained their composure and Mayne had a great opportunity when he found himself with a free header at the far post from a Shaun Copp corner, but couldn’t keep it from going over the bar.
Changes saw Lee Francis and Ryan Turner come off the bench and the game swung back into Combe’s favour as Bridport sat deep and looked to hold on to the victory. With two minutes remaining, Scott Huxtable made a pinpoint cross to Rossiter, who rose highest in the box and made no mistake from six yards to give Combe a draw.
Combe were facing a daunting trip to Odd Down last night (Tuesday) before they entertain high flying Merthyr Town at home on Saturday.
Merthyr will be bringing a big crowd as they look to win the title and Combe hope they can match that with as much home support as possible.
Barnstaple Town’s three match unbeaten run came to an end with an uninspiring 1-0 defeat at home to Longwell Green.
Longwell scored the only goal midway through the first half and after that the chances became fewer and fewer at both ends.
Town had managed to draw their previous three fixtures 0-0, but were unable on Saturday to get another share of the points as they moved to their fourth game without a goal.
Last night (Tuesday) Town were due to travel to Bishop Sutton for their last away fixture of the season. On Saturday they will be at home to Wells City.