WREY Arms suffered their first defeat in 33 games – and their first ever since re-entering the North Devon Football League in August 2009. The Wrey lost 2-1 to a well-organised Ilfracombe Town Thirds side at the Tarka Tennis Centre on Saturday afternoon.

WREY Arms suffered their first defeat in 33 games - and their first ever since re-entering the North Devon Football League in August 2009.

The Wrey lost 2-1 to a well-organised Ilfracombe Town Thirds side at the Tarka Tennis Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Despite dominating the early stages of the game for large periods, the hosts went 1-0 down from a free-kick after 20 minutes but drew level five minutes later though a Dan Dayman penalty.

After a scrappy second period Ilfracombe took the points with a 85th minute winner. Wrey hit the crossbar and post in added time but ultimately, were unable to rescue their proud record and slipped to 13th in the table with just one win from four so far this season.

At the top, Merton became the new leaders with a 4-1 win at home to Woolserey Reserves. Sporting Barum beat High Bickington 3-2 and Equalizers kept up the pace with a gritty performance at Woolacombe & Mortehoe.

After Darren Floyde narrowly missed giving the visitors the lead in the first minute, the hosts scored two goals in quick succession, the second from the penalty spot.

Richard Elston provided the lifeline for Equalizers going into the break and Floyde's back post header levelled the scores after the break.

Nico Pfieffer fired across the goalkeeper and into the corner to make it 3-2 before Mortehoe buried another penalty chance at 3-3. In the end, Floyde's pace was the difference between the two sides when he broke through to fire the winner for the Barnstaple side.

Fifth-placed Clovelly battled hard and were perhaps fortunate to be on level terms at the halfway point of their game with Braunton Thirds.

But the Black and Whites took their chances in the second half and secured a flattering 4-1 win thanks to goals by man-of-the match Stuart Burgees (2), Keiron Vanstone and a wonder strike by Dave Keene.

Buckland Brewer were just settling into their game at Northam Lions Reserves when goalkeeper John Adams was caught out by low bobbling shot from the edge of the box.

The veteran keeper misjudged the flight of the ball and allowed the shot to slip through his hands and trickle across the line.

Buckland pushed for the equaliser in the second half and with youngster Daniel Vanstone hitting good crosses into the Lions box, it seemed only a matter of time before the goal would arrive.

Finally, with 15 minutes remaining, midfielder Sean Freeman latched onto a loose ball inside the hosts' penalty area and smashed the ball home from 12yards to bring Buckland level.

The final minutes brought drama when Adams was ruled to have brought down a Northam striker only for the visitors to fire the subsequent spot kick against the post.