Match Reports

Kerry Miller is the Press and Media Officer for the league. You can contact Kerry by phone: 07702 502039 or by email kerrymiller100@hotmail.com

Western League XI 2 - 2 FA XI
125th Anniversary Match

The Western League’s 125th anniversary celebrations got under way on Wednesday night when the representative XI took on an FA XI at Oakfields, home of Melksham Town FC, and the excellent 532 crowd were treated to 90 minutes of faced paced football fitting of such an occasion, writes Kerry Miller.

The driving rain and wind which threatened to drown out the whole night thankfully abated early enough to entice a crowd to watch the match at the newest ground in what is the third oldest league in the country. Guests from many clubs, leagues and FAs attended as England C team manager Paul Fairclough brought a side picked predominantly from Southern League clubs based in the south and west. Gosport Borough, Salisbury, Basingstoke Town, Dorchester Town, Wimborne Town and Winchester City were represented as well as Mangotsfield United and Larkhall Athletic more locally and both teams showed what they could do in a fast paced opening on Melksham’s immaculate playing surface which is made quick passing football.

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Bridport 2 - 1 Shepton Mallet
Premier Division

Shepton Mallet missed the chance to go joint second in the Premier Division when they went down to two Ed Butcher goals at Bridport on Wednesday evening writes Kerry Miller.

Shepton will be sick of the sight of the former Chard Town man who scored in both matches last season and who put them ahead inside two minutes at St Marys Field before netting the winner around 20 minutes from time. It was a fitting end to another cracking game watched by a home crowd which has been steadily growing all season and the assembled saw two sides who have consistently played bold attacking football without resorting to the occasional cynical ploys which blight the game at all levels.

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St Albans City 2 - 1 Bridport
FA Cup

St Albans City, third in the National League South table and looking good for a place in what, in real money, is the fifth division, duly took their place in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday writes Kerry Miller.

They are the bare facts but closer examination reveals that Western League Bridport, three and a half divisions below, gave them a hell of a fright in what was a superb second half comeback and, with a following breeze and a bit of fortune, could easily have brought them back to St Marys Field on Wednesday night for a money spinning replay.

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Cheddar 3 - 2 Chard Town
First Division

A stunning hat-trick from Cheddar captain Adam Jones ensured three points stayed at Bowdens Park on Tuesday night after an all-action Vegetarian Derby writes Kerry Miller.

An early strike from way out was cancelled out virtually straight away but a far post volley just before the half hour and another fine finish with 15 minutes left did for Chard who played their part in a lively encounter in front of 67 who had ventured out in what threatened to turn into a murky evening at one stage.

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St Austell 4 - 5 Bridwater Town (AET)
FA Vase

A couple of years after the Second World War, the home ground of St Austell, Poltair Park, staged the final of the Cornwall Senior Cup between St Austell themselves and Penzance writes Kerry Miller.

The attendance figure has been passed down during the last 70 years and now stands at 13,000, presumably four deep on shoulders and another 10,000 stacked up on the streets outside the ground.

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Cadbury Heath 2 - 3 Bridport (AET)
FA Cup

Some 17 years ago Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and the FA colluded to consign the much-loved national institution which is the FA Cup to a long and painful demise with the shameful decision to pull out of the competition and play in Brazil in a futile attempt at garnering votes for the World Cup bid, writes Kerry Miller.

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Brislington 1 - 2 Clevedon Town
Premier Division

Clevedon move to eighth in the table with games in hand after a late Sekani Simpson goal finally got them over the line at Brislington, who played most of the game with ten men following the straight red card given to Aaron Cornwall, writes Kerry Miller.

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Bridport 2 - 2 Cadbury Heath
FA Cup

With the only two remaining Western League sides drawn against each other it was hoped against hope that they would provide an FA Cup tie which made the rest of the members clubs proud and Bridport and Cadbury Heath did just that on Saturday when they produced a match which will linger long in the memory writes Kerry Miller.

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Clevedon Town 2 - 1 Bridgwater Town
Premier Division

In the end it took a freak late goal, aided by the elements to give Clevedon the win, continue their unbeaten league run and consign Bridgwater to their fourth league defeat of the season at a drenched Hand Stadium on Wednesday evening writes Kerry Miller.

Despite it being a local derby, once again the foul weather and European football meant there were no more than five dozen hardy souls dotted around but they did get to see a very watchable game despite the second consecutive awful night which would have had Noah reaching for his Black and Decker workbench.

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Cribbs 0 - 1 Bitton
Premier Division

A Reeko Best goal just before the break was enough to send Bitton into ninth place in the Premier Division and prevent Cribbs from going second after what in the end became a war of attrition in awful conditions at the Lawns on Tuesday night writes Kerry Miller.

Both sides did their best to play some football but the gale force end to end wind and driving rain made it a lottery for much of the game. With the awful weather forecast and Manchester United and Chelsea both in European action, it was little surprise there were no more than two dozen men, women and dogs huddled in the two stands.

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Tavistock 2 - 0 Hallen
FA Vase

Hallen shook off their grim start to the Premier Division season and gave SW Peninsula League champions Tavistock a real run for their money on Saturday in the FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round writes Kerry Miller.

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Melksham Town 0 - 2 Bitton
Premier Division

Sat together in the grandstand at Melksham’s Oakfield Stadium on Monday night were a couple of deaf supporters, who, unless they can lip read from 50 yards away will have been blissfully unaware of the constant dialogue which permeated the home side’s 2-0 defeat by Bitton.

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Andover Town 1 - 2 Cadbury Heath
FA Cup

Goals from Sacha Tong and Christian Lee either side of half-time gave travelling Cadbury Heath a superb FA Cup victory over Wessex League Premier Division Andover Town on Saturday afternoon writes Kerry Miller.

It was richly deserved by Rob Mallett’s side who came back from an early goal deficit to dominate for significant parts of the tie before a heroic last defensive stand brought a place in Monday’s draw and a cheque for £3,000. With Bridport beating Southern League Barnstaple Town at the same time, despite all the nationals having the score the opposite way round, the league have two in the hat with everyone hoping they are not drawn together.

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Sherborne Town 2 - 5 Chard Town
First Division

A stunning solo show from Chard skipper Taoufik Ben-Salem sent his side eight places up the Western League Division One table on Wednesday night after they went home with a 5-2 victory under their belts, Ben-Salem netting the first four writes Kerry Miller.

It was a remarkable showing and one which Chard had threatened for a while despite lingering at the foot of the table until yesterday and it came after both sides had posted their first wins of the new campaign on Saturday. The Robins included Paul Nicholls in the side, who had been playing rugby for Chard for some time and had Steve Friend on the bench after his unavailability on Saturday.

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Street 3 - 3 Buckland Athletic
Premier Division

Two of the sides fancied to be battling it out at the top of the Western League Premier Division come the end of April, served up a six-goal treat at the Tannery on Tuesday night writes Kerry Miller.

In the end a draw was a fair result and one celebrated more by the home side who had suffered a loss of form and confidence which manifested itself in three defeats on the spin.

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Malmesbury Victoria 2 - 4 Bishops Lydeard
Les Phillips Cup

A Clinical hat-trick from young Charlie Wilson paved the way for Bishops Lydeard to set up a first round tie at home to Portishead Town, after they got past a weakened but resolute Malmesbury Victoria at the Flying Monk Ground on Saturday afternoon writes Kerry Miller.

Despite at one point being 4-0 up, Lydeard were forced to defend and hang on after they lost Tom Stone to as red card and the home side scored twice and were all over Lydeard for large parts of an enthralling second half.

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Willand Rovers 2 - 0 Street
Premier Division

Willand revved up for their forthcoming FA Cup trip to Merthyr Town with a fine victory over much fancied Street at the Stan Robinson Stadium on Wednesday evening writes Kerry Miller.

Two goals from Adam Hill, one a penalty five minutes from time consigned the visitors to their first league defeat of the season and it was compounded by a straight red card to Lee Sweet in injury time, presumably for foul or abusive language to the linesman. In truth, it had been coming and Street will have to look to their consistency, as well as their self-discipline on and off the pitch, if they are to maintain a title challenge.

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Bridgwater Town 1 - 2 Shepton Mallet
Premier Division

Two goals right at the end of a superb match, one a controversial penalty, had both sets of supporters gnawing fingernails on Tuesday night with Shepton Mallet substitute Elliott Nicholson crashing home the winner from two yards out, four minutes into injury time writes Kerry Miller.

In the minds of the travelling support, it was justice as they watched Bridgwater equalise through a Callum Ham penalty following a clash in the area between Shepton’s joint player-manager Craig Loxton and home player-manager Dave Pearse. Referee Stuart Kane pointed to the spot after cautioning Loxton and Ham shot home via the post to seemingly rescue a point. But deep into time added on Bridgy gave away a careless free-kick in a good position and Tom Hill’s dipping effort was pushed onto the bar only for Nicholson to hook home after a scramble.

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Barnstaple Town 1 - 0 Clevedon Town
FA Cup

Mssed chances came back to haunt Clevedon on Saturday as they went out of the FA Cup at Mill Road and missed out on a fine chance to make the qualifying rounds, writes Kerry Miller.

In a game full of efforts on goal which were saved or high and wide it was ironic that Barum’s winner from Jordan Charran was nodded in from almost on the goalline to clinch the game midway through the second half. Clevedon had scraped past Bitton in extra-time of a replay in the last round and with Barum shipping six goals in their first two league games, there was real hope for Mickey Bell’s squad on this blustery day.

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Chard Town 2 - 2 Roman Glass St George
First Division

A Joe Swift penalty, a minute into injury time, robbed Chard Town of their first win of the season on Wednesday night after they had come from behind and had conceded an earlier spot kick, which was saved by home keeper Jon Hill writes Kerry Miller.

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Street 3 - 0 Bridgwater Town
Premier Division

Street moved up to fourth in the Premier Division table, three points adrift of leaders Melksham but with a game in hand after Tuesday’s derby victory over Bridgwater Town writes Kerry Miller.

It was a win which was not as straightforward as it appears, with the pace of finishing power of former Robin Craig Herrod proving the catalyst for the victory with two stunning goals, either side of half-time. Street were without the suspended Josh Wadham but still boasted a strike force of Dave O’Hare, Steve Murray, Harry Foster and Herrod, all of whom have hit the net in the first three league games but it was the visitors who made the first chance with Syd Camper finding room on the left to cross for Steve Holland, who was inches away from connecting.

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Melksham Town 3 - 0 Odd Down (Bath)
Premier Division

With 25 minutes to go of what was an old fashioned blood and thunder Western League derby, Odd Down manager Ray Johnson threw on Kane Simpson up front as his side had weathered a ferocious home storm and he possibly saw the chance of snatching a win against the run of play writes Kerry Miller.

Some substitutions are inspired and lead to all kinds of joy – but others aren’t and this came into the latter category as Simpson was shown a straight red within 30 seconds for an off the ball clash with Chris Allen, and with him went the match and the three points. Town immediately stepped on the gas once more and Gary Higdon helped himself to a classic seven minute hat-trick which looked so unlikely ten minutes earlier and they cemented their early place at the top of the Premier Division.

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Westbury United 2 - 0 Radstock Town
First Division

In the end two incidents either side of half-time which could have influenced the outcome of this match were consigned to memory as Westbury United overcame a resolute Radstock Town side to leapfrog them and go top of Division One at a sunny Meadow Lane on Saturday writes Kerry Miller.

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Bridport 1 - 0 St Austell
FA Cup

A stunning 25 yard strike from Ed Butcher ten minutes before half-time gave Bridport a home tie with Street in the next round of the FA Cup after a pulsating replay at St Marys Field on Wednesday night writes Kerry Miller.

However, that goal doesn’t tell the full story of a match which the visitors were forced to play for 80 minutes with ten men following the dismissal of Liam Eddy for a foul followed by a head butt, which gave referee Stephen Graham little option.

Remarkably, it was Eddy’s first game back after suspension but Bridport struggled to take advantage of the extra man as the sending off seemed to even the proceedings.

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Bitton 0 - 1 Clevedon Town
FA Cup

Clevedon went away from the Rec on Tuesday night with £1,500 and a trip to Barnstaple Town in the next round of the FA Cup after two hours of intense football which often promised to ignite but never quite did writes Kerry Miller.

In the end it took a disputed penalty ten minutes from the end of extra-time to separate the sides who had drawn 2-2 at the Hand Stadium on Saturday.

Both teams were missing players but visiting skipper Ollie Barnes soon livened things up with a scything tackle which earned him an early booking while Clevedon struggled to contain Bitton who had all the early play going uphill. Alex Russell shot over then Joe McLennan began his assault on the away goal with a strike from distance which Damien Freeman did well to keep out. Daine O’Connor and Kane Ingram then tested Ben John in the Bitton goal but the half brought few clear cut chances with the teams cancelling each other out and ended goalless.

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Melksham Town 4 - 0 Cadbury Heath
Premier Division

Melksham bounced back from their disappointing FA Cup defeat in Hampshire two days earlier to show the 354 strong crowd at the Oakfield Stadium they were up for the challenge in the league by easing past a resolute visiting Cadbury Heath on a drizzly Monday evening writes Kerry Miller.

Although the result was rarely in doubt, the Bristol side were in the game for the best part of an hour and caused problems themselves, despite top scorer Matt Huxley only being on the bench.

New Town boss Kieran Baggs introduced two new signings in full back Mark Cooper and midfielder Chris Allen, both local lads on dual affiliation with Chippenham Town and both settled after a spell when Cadbury Heath could have taken the lead when Ali Bamford released Simon McElroy who went close. Cooper was getting forward and into good positions as Town began to link up well on the perfect pitch, made slick by persistent drizzle, and he was unlucky when his 20 yard effort was inches wide.

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Shepton Mallet 1 - 4 Tavistock
FA Cup

For almost an hour at West Shepton on Saturday, Jon Burr and Craig Loxton’s new young side more than held their own against a Tavistock side which had won there 6-1 a year earlier in the FA Vase, and led with a strike for Tom Hill on the half hour writes Kerry Miller.

In the end the SW Peninsula League champions proved too strong but the home side will definitely win more games than they lose this season as they played some fine football on a billiard table pitch which stretched the Devon side, who have lost 58 goal league leading scorer Glynn Hobbs to Plymouth Parkway but still should be challenging for honours.

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Ashton & Backwell 2 - 2 Welton Rovers
First Division

Charlie Babb’s spectacular 89th minute volley rescued a point for Welton Rovers on the Toolstation First Division’s opening day, when the Green Army certainly should have taken all 3.

Despite having dominated the entirety of the match, it was the home side, Ashton & Blackwell Utd who took a 2-1 lead ten minutes from time, which looked as if it would be enough to give them the points. A seemingly innocuous free kick was awarded to the Stags in their 18 yard box but goalkeeper Lewis Coombes’ long hoof forward wasn’t dealt with. The ball landed with Sam Skidmore who lifted a shot over the onrushing Welton keeper Drewitt and despite his effort looking like it was sailing wide, an awkward bounce took the ball back towards goal and left it nestling in the Welton net.

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Buckland Athletic

With the first team preparing to welcome SW Peninsula League favourites Bodmin Town in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Reserves were in action in the final of the Devon Champions Cup, at Coach Road Newton Abbot the night before.

Having won the South Devon League last season they qualified to play in the brand new competition, sponsored by football benefactor Carl Throgmorton, which paired the champions from the North Devon, South Devon, Devon and Exeter and Plymouth Leagues in semi-finals, the winners to play for the stunning new cup at the home of Devon FA.

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Street 7 - 0 Mangotsfield United
Friendly

Street’s management duo of Richard Fey and Nathan Rudge could do little but purr with delight on Friday evening as the Toolstation Western League side took apart Southern League Mangotsfield United at the Tannery in what was a clinical and highly impressive attacking display.

The Bristol side were without a number of regulars but Street had both lead strikers Steve Murray and Dave O’Hare missing and in truth they may struggle to get into the side for next Saturday’s Toolstation Cup Final against North East Counties League side AFC Mansfield.

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Street 0 - 1 Bristol Manor Farm
Friendly

Last season’s runners up Street got their pre-season campaign up and running on Tuesday evening when they entertained champions Bristol Manor Farm, who are preparing for life in the Southern League, writes Kerry Miller.

Despite a downpour which lasted all day and most of the match, the Tannery pitch was in perfec t nick as the sides played out a full paced game which was decided by a looping header from Farm new boy Jack Hargreaves 20 minutes from time.

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