Boca Seniors won’t want to return to ‘friendly’ Shebbear in a hurry

THEIR village was ranked England’s sixth most family friendly place in a national survey this week.

So it was fitting that newly-promoted Shebbear United gave North Devon Gazette Premier Division champions Boca Seniors a “warm” welcome on Saturday.

Darren Todd’s unbeaten side certainly felt the heat as United looked like causing a major upset when they took a 1-0 lead into the half-time break against.

A James Vanstone goal separated the sides until Boca hit back with two sublime free-kicks from Mark Barrow, the first a low effort and the second, a 30-yard top corner curler.

Defender Darren Hawkings made it 3-1 with a far post header but Stuart Quance pulled a goal back when the visitors failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Jack Jenkins restored the two-goal advantage for Boca but Shebbear showed their fighting spirit when Martin Davey cracked in a 25-yard free-kick to settle the scores at 4-3 with a minute to play.

With leaders Ilfracombe rested this week, North Molton narrowed the gap to three points with a 2-0 win at Dolton.

In what Stags manager Mark Kersey called a evenly-balanced and well-contested match, Greg Holland broke the deadlock on 56 minutes with an audacious turn and shot from the edge of the box.

Ben New scored the game’s second with a low drive into the bottom corner on 75 minutes.

“Both teams were guilty of missing chances in the first half but while Dolton played some nice football, I think we deserved the points based on the chances we created,” said Kersey.

Braunton dropped points for only the second time this season when they drew 3-3 at Bradworthy.

Elliot Whitecross scored two and Tom White scored one for Braunton while Carlo Chandler (2) and Xien Witt were on target for the hosts, who scored an equaliser in added time despite having a player sent off moments before.

Scott Maynard saw two efforts rattle the bar and one hit the post as Braunton attempted to grab all three points in a fiery second half.

Will Nicholls scored a hat-trick as Shamwickshire Rovers proved far too strong for struggling Barnstaple AAC.

James Bateman scored two and there was a single for Matt Downing in the 6-1 win at Pottington Road. Karl Smith scored the consolation goal for the Ammies, who have taken just three points from their opening seven games.

Propping up the table, Combe Martin were beaten for the eighth time this season, this time at away to Putford.

With 15 minutes to go in a closely-fought game at Allardice Hall, Combe looked on course for their first point. But a double strike by Arlo Reddick gave Putford a 2-0 win.

There was more good news for Putford in the form of the returning Dave Richardson, who came off the bench to play his first football of the season following an ankle injury.

Marcus Mahoney laid the foundations for Bratton Fleming’s excellent 4-1 win at home to Appledore Reserves.

Mahoney’s two first half strikes set the tempo and Richard Elston followed up with a lobbed effort to make it 3-0 after the break.

The Fishermen pulled one back from the spot but a Joe Toop header restored the three-goal cushion.

In the Torrington derby at Vicarage Field, Torridgeside’s Nathan Walter lit up a scrappy match against rivals Torrington.

Walter scored his first on seven minutes after Robbie Holland had given the visitors a two-minute lead.

He followed up direct from a free-kick on 30 minutes as Torridgeside raced to a 3-0 lead at the break.

Walter’s third came from the penalty spot with 10 minutes to go.

His manager Barry Paine said: “It wasn’t a pretty game and in all fairness we didn’t have to do a lot to win it.”