This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League review
THE quality of the top two in the Premier division was in evidence again this weekend as they both posted crushing victories to keep the title race alive.
Elliot Whitecross hit seven for Boca Seniors as they dispatched of Shebbear United 10-1 on Saturday, a win which keeps them in pole position to reclaim the title.
Braunton completed their 2013/14 league campaign in fine style, beating Dolton by eight goals to nil.
Braunton have notched 80 points from their 30 games this season, with a goal difference of +99, yet still look likely to miss out on becoming champions.
Apart from their two defeats to Boca, Braunton have been unbeaten throughout the campaign, winning 26 times.
Boca, still unbeaten after 26 games, now need to take seven points from their final four matches to make sure of the title.
They face a tough trip to Torridgeside on Saturday.
Bideford Reserves were gifted three points in their pursuit of third place, as Sunday’s opponents Torridgeside were unable to raise a team.
That result came a day after Torridgeside suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bradworthy, capping off a damaging weekend for the defending champions as they slipped to seventh in the premier division.
Fremington only have one more game to play this season after picking up four points in two days this weekend.
They started with a 4-2 win at Shamwickshire Rovers on Saturday, before drawing 1-1 with North Molton on Sunday.
Appledore Reserves recorded a fourth straight win on Saturday, overcoming Ilfracombe Reserves in their mid-table scrap.
Appledore ran out 3-0 winners to strengthen their grip on eighth.
At the bottom of the table, Chittlehampton played host to Georgeham and Croyde.
The two sides went into the encounter with one win between them all season, and that was still the case after 90 minutes on Saturday as an entertaining clash finished 3-3.
Earlier in the week, Barnstaple AAC beat North Molton, and Ilfracombe Reserves defeated Shammy Rovers in an eight goal thriller, coming out 5-3 victors.
PARK United remain on course to claim the Senior division title after a crucial 5-3 win over Landkey Town.
Landkey knew that anything other than a win would end any feint hopes they had of mounting a title challenge, while the 5-3 win for Park cuts the deficit to leaders Braunton Reserves to 14 points, with six games in hand.
Saturday’s win came via goals from Steve Skinner (2), Matt Lewis, Tom Forrester and David Brown, with Landkey’s goals coming from Joe Gillard (2) and Ben Taylor.
18 points from their last seven games will guarantee the title goes to Park, and although far from a formality their impressive form – which has seen them drop points just twice all season – makes them favourites.
They face a tough test on Wednesday (tonight), when they head to Barnstaple FC, before another critical game at Ashwater on Saturday.
North Molton Reserves tightened their grip on a top six finish with a comfortable 6-2 win at bottom club Morwenstow Reserves, while Putford recorded a 1-0 win at Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves in their penultimate game of the season.
At the bottom end of the table, Torridgeside Reserves dragged themselves out of danger with a 3-2 win over Woolsery, a win which saw them leapfrog Shammy and Combe Martin and move 13th.
Combe Martin lost 2-1 at Lynton and Lynmouth on Saturday, a result which leaves them with only Morwenstow beneath them in the Senior division table.
WOOLACOMBE and Mortehoe have moved to the summit of the Intermediate One table as their good run of form continued against Hartland on Saturday.
Woolacombe won 3-1 – their fifth league win in a row – thanks to goals from Matthew Lambert, Josh Phillips and Daniel Wright.
They head Braunton Thirds on goal difference, but having played four games fewer than their closest rivals have to be favourites to win the division.
Anchor Chiefs cannot be discounted yet, either, after a 2-1 win at Northam Lions Reserves kept them within a point of the top two.
Chiefs still have three games to play, but need Woolacombe to slip up if they are to take the Intermediate One crown.
Pilton finally ended their slide down the table on Sunday with a well-earned 2-1 win at Ilfracombe Thirds.
Playing their third game in five days, Pilton ended a run of seven straight league defeats thanks to goals from Quyen Tran and a terrific lobbed finish from Alex Boreham.
Pilton had lost 2-1 to Sporting Barum on Saturday and 3-2 to Equalizers on Wednesday.
Barnstaple FC Reserves, who played Woolacombe on Tuesday (yesterday) after the North Devon Gazette had gone to press, moved up to 10th on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Clovelly.
The game, which finished 10-a-side after Kev Shaddick and Matthew Joslin were sent off for Barnstaple and Clovelly respectively, was decided by two goals from Marcus Mahoney.