TORRIDGESIDE completed the treble on Saturday night with a narrow victory over close rivals Bideford Reserves to add the Brayford Cup to the Torridge Cup and North Devon League Premier Division title already under their belts in a magnificent season.
Once again, the battle between the season’s two top teams could hardly have been closer, decided 2-1 in Torridgeside’s favour by a penalty just five minutes from the end.
Both Torridgeside goals came from the penalty spot and both courtesy of Paddy Ions.
He slotted home the first after an attacker was brought down in the opening 10 minutes. Bideford’s Joe Grimley brought the sides level before the break with a stunning turn and strike from the edge of the box.
The game remained 50-50, with few chances for either side, until the more controversial second penalty was given – the classic attacker’s shot coming into contact with the hand of a defender.
The spectacle at Mill Road was watched by a crowd of more than 500.
Three wins in a week
There was another humdinger at Braunton on Sunday as the home side continued their storming finish to the season with their third big win in a week, 6-5 against North Molton.
Molton took an early lead and stayed in front for most of the game, but each time Braunton battled back to finally snatch the points.
With both sides short of regular players Molton’s 51-year-old assistant manager Mark Craze stepped into their line-up and hit a cracking goal from the edge of the box. Their others came from Tom Marsh (2), Stuart Cameron and Greg Holland.
Braunton owed their winner to young Raith Whattingham, the 16-year-old celebrating his first game for the first team. Earlier goals came from James Galliford (2), Nathan Knight (2) and Ryan Hawkes.
On Saturday, Braunton were 2-1 winners at Shamwickshire with goals by Tavis Fairlea and Johnny Shury overtaking an early Shammy strike by Ben Boswell. This followed a 4-3 midweek win at home to Boca Seniors.
North Molton were also winners on Saturday, 2-0 away to Bradworthy with a goal in each half by Tom Marsh and Jamie Gifford, following a 6-2 midweek win at Georgeham.
Shammy were also midweek winners, 5-2 away to Barnstaple AAC in a game which saw the retirement from the game of Theo Shell, a stalwart player who was previously with both Appledore and Bideford Reserves.
In other weekend games, Georgeham came back from 2-0 down to end their relegation concerns with a 4-3 win away to Appledore Reserves. Tommy Heard, Sean Crealy and Alex Marks (2) netted the Georgeham goals, with Rob Avery and Marc Clark (2) scoring for Appledore.
Chittlehampton climbed to seventh place with a 5-0 win at home to Shebbear United with goals by Nico Pfieffer 2, Ciaron Lishman 2 and Nick Parkin.