Stags go top with Welch double

Joseph Bulmer

North Molton lead the pack with Appledore win

COLIN Welch scored twice as North Molton went to the top of the North Devon Gazette Premier Division on Saturday.

Despite a bright opening 20 minutes at Rocksfield, the Stags’ 2-1 win against Appledore Reserves was more rut than strut as the visitors set about winning their third game on the bounce.

Molton took the lead when Welch’s cross-come-shot slipped under the goalkeeper but the Fishermen were soon back on level terms through Seth Hodorowski.

There was nothing to separate the sides at the break – and few clues as to how the referee found an extra 18 minutes of first half injury time in a fairly incident free first 45.

With time – and daylight – running out, Welch scored the winning goal with 10 minutes to play.

“We didn’t finish playing until 5.05pm – it was getting dark towards the end,” said Appledore manager Kevin Fishwick.

“I felt we were unlucky not to get anything out of the game,” he added.

“We’re playing well and getting better with a young squad, nine of whom are aged 19 or under.”

Molton Manager Mark Kersey said: “It was not our best performance of the season but I was pleased with the win.

“Perhaps a draw would have been a fair result.”

Meanwhile, Boca Seniors were unable to bounce back from last week’s rare defeat against Braunton.

The champions drew 1-1 against the morning’s league leaders Ilfracombe Town Reserves. Mark Gilfillan scored for ‘Combe and substitute Ryan Dempsey equalised deep in injury time for Boca.

Braunton were made to fight tooth and nail for three points in their game at Bratton Fleming.

Braunton took the lead through Simon Townsend, who finished well from close range after good work down the right flank by Russell Harrison.

Townsend turned provider before the break when he laid the ball off for Harrison to strike a beautiful 20-yard shot on the run.

Harrison made it three on the hour mark when he got on the end of James Galliford’s free-kick.

Martin Edwards pulled one back for Bratton 10 minutes later but they had little more to show for their toils other than a broken nose for Steve Zecchini.

Dolton prepared for this weekend’s Devon Premier Cup trip to Buckland Athletic with a 3-1 win at home Shamwickshire Rovers on Saturday.

Rangers went 1-0 down through James Bateman and manager Neil Batty admitted the first half damage could have been far worse against a Rovers side that’s been struggling to put away a truckful of chances of late.

Sixteen-year-old Will Marsland scored twice in five minutes to give Dolton the lead with 20 minutes to play.

Mike Cowell bent a free-kick around the wall to make it 3-1 in the final minute.

“All credit to Shammy; they were by far the better side in the first half,” said Batty. “It was a bit nip and tuck at 2-1 but we dug in.”

Ben Walters scored two first half goals as Barnstaple AAC came from 2-0 down in their match at Putford.

The hosts pulled away again in the second half, Dan Wilson (2), Matt Coles and Dave Richardson on target in a win that saw Putford give themselves a four-point cushion in sixth place.

In other results, James Vanstone (2) and Martin Davey scored for Shebbear United in a 3-0 win against bottom side Combe Martin at Hollands Park.