This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League round-up
BOCA Seniors are back on level terms with Braunton at the top of the North Devon Gazette Football League Premier division after a convincing 5-0 win over North Molton Sports Club.
Scott Sharp netted twice for the home side, while Elliot Whitecross, Tom Popham and Darren Floyde were also on target.
Boca are still unbeaten in the league this season and are now level on points at the top with a game in hand on their title rivals.
Boca face a difficult task on Saturday, when they travel to high-flying Bideford Reserves.
Bideford will go into that clash in high spirits after a crushing 8-1 win at bottom of the table Chittlehampton.
Bideford recorded their 15th win of the season to stay third, and now have a cup final against Braunton to look forward to.
Torrington also remain in good shape, staying within four points of Bideford with a 3-2 win over Ilfracombe Reserves.
Torrington still have four games in hand on Bideford.
Torridgeside’s recent upturn in form continued on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Dolton.
Torridgeside have now won seven of their last eight league matches, lifting them to fifth place having played 20 matches.
Fremington lost ground on the sides above them as they were held by Bradworthy.
Liam Curtis and Robert Pearce earned Bradworthy only their 13th point of the season, with Fremington’s goals coming from Andy King and Simon Larcombe.
Shamwickshire Rovers picked up an important three points in the lower reaches of the table, beating Shebbear United 2-0.
Shammy face a tough game against Braunton on Saturday, while Shebbear will expect to pick up three points when they host Chittlehampton.
IN the Senior division, Park United began the long task of catching leaders Braunton Reserves with an emphatic 8-0 win over Lynton and Lynmouth.
Despite Braunton being otherwise engaged with their cup semi-final this weekend, Park still have six games in hand in the race for the title after being badly affected by the weather around the turn of the year.
The 8-0 win on Saturday highlighted the team’s title-winning credentials, though they cannot afford any slip-ups as they look to make up a 17-point deficit.
There were some excellent performances from teams in the lower reaches of the Senior division this weekend, with a number of teams in the bottom half picking up important points.
Northam Lions had a mixed weekend, first beating seventh-placed Putford on Saturday to move up to ninth in the table before losing heavily to struggling Torridgeside Reserves on Sunday.
Northam beat Putford 3-2, before losing to 7-1 to Torridgeside, who remain 14th.
Second-bottom Combe Martin put in a much improved performance to give Merton a scare, but ultimately goals from Damien Knill and Josh Robinson were not enough to earn any points.
Merton’s three goals came from Brendan Harris, Craig McConnachie and Daniel Lane as they stayed eighth.
South Molton have now picked up 12 points from their last four games after a third consecutive win on Saturday moved them safely clear of the relegation places.
Matt Yates scored twice and Rob Reed and James Campbell each bagged singles as Molton beat Morwenstow Reserves – still yet to pick up a point this season - 4-1 to creep up to 12th in the table.
Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves also pulled off a bit of a shock, winning for only the sixth time this season against promotion-chasing Woolsery.
Woolsery could have significantly cut the gap to the sides around them at the top with a win but stay sixth after a 7-2 defeat.
Shammy Rovers stay 13th, but are now well clear of the bottom of the table.
They go to Northam Lions on Saturday.
BRAUNTON Thirds’ title chase appears to have hit the buffers as they suffered a third consecutive defeat in Intermediate One.
This time it was struggling Northam Reserves who picked up the three points for a fine 4-2 win, which leaves Braunton top by just a single point.
It is a drastic change in fortunes for a side which only lost three of their first 16 league games and looked to be forerunners for the title this season.
Equalisers are now within a single point of Braunton, and have three games in hand. The top two sides meet each other on Saturday in a game which Braunton cannot afford to lose.
Two wins in a week have catapulted Pilton up to third – and right into the thick of the title race.
Academicals are now just two points off the top themselves, having played a game fewer than Equalisers and four fewer than Braunton.
Pilton beat Barnstaple AAC 3-0 on Saturday, after a battling 3-2 win at Torrington Reserves on Wednesday night.
The points were sealed against a strong Torrington side thanks to two goals from John Blundell and one from Jack Ryder.
Pilton narrowly held on after being reduced to 10 men for the last 20 minutes.
They host Ilfracombe Thirds on Saturday.
Anchor Chiefs, too, are still in with a shout after a 1-0 win over Combe Thirds on Saturday.
Like Pilton, Chiefs are just two points off the top and have games in hand on Braunton.
However, they have played more games than Equalisers and Pilton.
They host Barnstaple FC Reserves this weekend.
Clovelly clawed their way clear of relegation trouble with an impressive 6-1 win over bottom of the league Sporting Barum, who are now four points adrift of the other teams.
CHIVENOR closed the gap at the top of Intermediate Two to two points with a 3-0 win over Appledore Academy on Saturday.
Chivenor leapfrogged North Molton Thirds into second place, and remain within striking distance of leaders Haxton Rangers.
Anchor Chiefs Reserves are next up for Chivenor.
Braunton Fourths missed the chance to put the pressure on the sides above them, losing 1-0 at home to Woolsery Reserves on Sunday.
Braunton’s title challenge now appears to be over, sitting six points behind Haxton having played five more games.
Fremington Reserves did make the most of the opportunity, though, beating Chittlehampton Reserves 4-1 on Sunday.
Having lost to North Molton in the cup on Saturday, Fremington are just a point behind Braunton with six games in hand on them, and seven points behind leaders Haxton with a game in hand.
Their game against Putford Reserves on Sunday could prove crucial as we move into the latter stages of the season.
Woolacombe and Mortehoe Reserves were too strong for Georgeham and Croyde Reserves, beating them 4-0 to stay seventh, while Hartland Reserves steered clear of trouble with a 6-2 win at Woolsery Reserves on Saturday.
South Molton Reserves are next up for Hartland, and will go into the game with momentum after a 3-1 win over Merton Reserves.
Dave Isaac, Jeff Henry and an own goal secured the points for Molton, who were then unable t raise a side for their Sunday trip to Putford Reserves, who went eighth with the three points awarded to them.