This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League round-up

PREMIER

Braunton have some breathing space at the top of the premier division after Boca Seniors suffered a potentially fatal defeat at home to Ilfracombe Town.

Boca's hopes of retaining their crown have been slipping since two draws in February gave Braunton the upper hand, and Saturday's slip-up has now given Braunton a four-point advantage in the race for this season's title.

With just seven games to go, and with both sides having only lost three times in their first 21 fixtures, that is a handsome lead for Braunton to hold on to.

While Boca lost 4-2 to Ilfracombe - a fantastic result for the visitors - Braunton were making light work of a trip to fourth-placed Shamwickshire Rovers.

The league leaders were in machine-like form, securing an efficient 2-0 win.

And Braunton had the chance to further extend their lead last night (Tuesday), after the Gazette had gone to print, at Bideford Reserves.

They go to the unpredictable Torrington on Saturday, while Boca host Bradworthy.

Bideford were looking for a third win in four days last night after back-to-back victories at the weekend.

They followed Saturday's 6-1 win over Shebbear United with a 1-0 win at Bradworthy on Sunday, when they included four 16-year-olds in their starting XI.

One of the four, Emilio Bennett, grabbed the winner.

Third-placed Torridgeside closed to within four points of Boca with a 3-1 win at Fremington.

Marc Bettiss, Tyler Evans-Loude and Harry Stevens got their goals, making them unbeaten in eight.

North Molton's impressive recent form continued with a 5-2 victory over Park United.

They have now not lost since early January, winning three of their last four.

Appledore Reserves moved up to 12th win a convincing 4-0 win at Barnstaple AAC.

SENIOR

There was nothing to choose between the top two when they went head-to-head at Lobb Field on Saturday.

Senior division leaders Braunton Reserves played host to Landkey Town, with a thrilling game finishing all square at three apiece.

Braunton's scorers were Alan Woodcock (2) and Ben Aiken, while Landkey's goals came from Kyson Chugg, Danny Hommell and Ben Taylor.

Braunton remain nine points clear, but Landkey have five games in hand to make up that deficit.

Landkey host Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves on Saturday, and Braunton host Merton.

Hartland are not yet out of the title reckoning either, and stayed on track for a top-three finish with a 4-3 win at Torridgeside Reserves.

The victory saw them get within 10 points of the top of the table, with three games in hand on Braunton.

They play Lynton and Lynmouth on Saturday.

Lynton were also involved in a 3-3 draw last weekend, against Shamwickshire Rovers.

Northam Lions, struggling in 15th, picked up a much-needed three points on Saturday.

They put in a stellar performance to beat Chittlehampton 3-0, helping them to within three points of Lynton above them.

Merton beat Georgeham and Croyde 1-0.

INTERMEDIATE ONE

Chivenor look like being the team to beat in the intermediate one title race after another win at the weekend.

They held off Haxton Rangers 3-2 to reduce Barnstaple AAC Reserves' lead to five points - and they still have four games in hand.

Chivenor will make up another of those games on Saturday, when they go to Morwenstow Reserves.

Ilfracombe Reserves were in impressive goalscoring form, putting eight past Northam Reserves.

The win lifted them to third in the table, ahead of Saturday's game with North Molton.

Fifth-placed Pilton picked up an important three points, too, beating Morwenstow 5-0 in the early kick-off at the Tarka Tennis Centre.

Matt Hunt headed the first and notched a second from close range, to make it 2-0 at the break.

Alex Boreham made it 3-0 with the pick of the goals, finishing well after midfielder Jack Ryder carved open the defence with an incisive through-ball.

Matt Proctor headed the fourth and Paul Sullivan made it five from the penalty spot.

Accies are only a point behind Sporting Barum, after they failed

to raise a side for the trip to Clovelly.

A Stuart McKinnon hat-trick helped Barnstaple FC Reserves on their way to a 6-0 win over Northam, while Braunton Thirds won 4-2 at Equalizers.

There was a 4-0 win for Anchor Chiefs at High Bickington, while North Molton returned from Torrington Reserves with all three points.

INTERMEDIATE TWO

The top two in intermediate two were once again in fine goalscoring form, with Appledore Academy winning 5-0 and Bideford Academy winning 3-2.

Bideford beat Putford 3-2 on Saturday thanks to a hat-trick from Charlie Webb, while Appledore overcame Merton Reserves.

Appledore remain on track for the title, with a four-point lead and five games in hand, giving them a serious edge over Bideford.

Indeed, it could be Woolacombe Reserves who prove to be their closest challengers for the title.

They are 11 points adrift, but have also only played 18 games.

They won 5-3 at Hartland Reserves on Saturday.

The weekend also brought a 4-0 win for Landkey Reserves over Georgeham Reserves and a 1-0 win for South Molton Reserves.