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

Willand Rovers 1 - 3 Melksham Town
Premier Division

Melksham skipper Gary Higdon slammed home an injury time penalty to seal the deal at Silver Street on Wednesday night and send his side into the Southern League for the first time in their long history writes Kerry Miller.

The 3-1 victory meant that Buckland Athletic needed to win their last four games by an aggregate of 30-0 to deny them and with the little matter of the Les Phillips Cup Final tucked among those, the visiting side allowed themselves the luxury of celebrating the runners-up spot in the assumption that Buckland would not be able to complete such a task. The scenario before the game was straightforward in that Willand needed to beat Melksham and them win at Buckland next Wednesday to snatch the spot from Melksham and on eight minutes the dream momentarily edged towards reality. Town striker Jon Davies had twice tested home keeper Mike Searle before Brett Worbey curled a free-kick past Rob Brown from an inch outside the penalty area to stun the travelling support which doubled the crowd and provided a tense atmosphere at evening.

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Bridgwater Town 1 - 1 Shepton Mallet
AET 1-1
Penalties 3-4
Les Phillips Cup Semi-Final

With the clocks showing 10.15pm Shepton skipper James Billing slammed home his side’s fifth penalty at the changing room end of Fairfax Park to send his side through to the Les Phillips Cup Final at Longwell Green Sports on Monday afternoon after another epic cup encounter writes Kerry Miller.

With a total of 11 spot kicks, four of them saved, eight bookings, two goals, four disallowed goals and a 20 man confrontation which happily came to nothing, this game had little chance of boring everyone to death and when the dust settled and the celebrations began, Shepton found they would be playing Buckland Athletic next week to round off a fine campaign which will end up with them enjoying a top six spot in the league.

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Westbury United 3 - 1 Bishop Sutton
First Division

Westbury United go into Wednesday evening’s local derby at home to Devizes Town knowing that victory would give them the Division One championship and promotion back to the Premier Division and that they have a back-up game at Cheddar next Saturday following this weekend’s matches writes Kerry Miller.

At kick off time their destiny was already in their hands as both Roman Glass St George and Keynsham Town had stumbled at the run in but things were made even clearer with Keynsham surprisingly drawing 3-3 with Chippenham Town and Roman Glass completing their fixtures on 93 points.

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Radstock Town 2 - 2 Keynsham Town
First Division

With Keynsham looking for the win which would have taken them to the top of Division One and Radstock needing to cement a place in the top six to ensure qualification for the FA Cup in August, there was much to play for at Southfields on Tuesday night writes Kerry Miller.

The sides had plenty to live up to after Monday’s epic battle at Melksham and they did not disappoint serving up a four goal thriller in driving rain which could have gone either way but in the end stayed level , despite the late dismissal of Jack Witcombe for a second yellow card.

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Melksham Town 1 - 0 Bradford Town
Premier Division

Gary Higdon’s powerful header just short of the hour mark settled this pulsating Wiltshire derby on Monday night and gave Melksham a lift in what has become a fascinating four way battle for the second spot behind champions Street and the Holy Grail of the chance of a stab at Southern League football in just over three month’s time, writes Kerry Miller.

It was a night when local pride was at stake as well as a vital three points and after the feisty first game and the weather abandonment of the first attempt at staging the second, it had all the ingredients of a match to remember for any number of reasons. In the end many were praising the game and calling it ‘a credit to the Western League’, played in front of a crowd of 808, the biggest in the league for some time. Referee Mike Halford was in no mood to take any nonsense on or off the field and Matt Morris was in the book for a body check inside 40 seconds which was a Godsend for the Bristolian official who had a fine game, despite the myopic leanings from both parties.

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Cheddar 1 - 3 Bishops Lydeard
First Division

The constant rainfall has seen pitches all over the west take a pounding since November but they have been dried out by the hottest April day in 70 years which has meant a sudden spurt of growth, and the hard working ground staff at the Theatre of Cheese may well have to exchange their mower for a combine harvester such is the lushness of the playing surface writes Kerry Miller.

It seemed to suit visitors Bishops Lydeard better as their nippy young forward line backed up by the excellent Jack Kelly created a number of clear chances before finally taking the lead around the half hour mark and before the hour was up they were 3-0 up and coasting. However, that was not the end of the story by a long way in what was anything but an end of season outing. Both teams played some fine football and with home captain Adam Jones having been the recipient of an award before the game to commemorate ten years, 360 appearances and 280 goals, he was in no mood to roll over and was at the front of a fierce come back in the second half. With more luck and a touch more composure the Cheesemen could well have taken at least a point but it was not to be.

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Bridgwater Town 1 - 1 Bradford Town
Premier Division

In the match programme Bridgwater Town chairman Adrian Byrne stated that with ‘players trying to cement their place in the team for the upcoming Les Phillips Cup semi-final competition for places remains high’ writes Kerry Miller.

That was great news for all concerned as it confirmed the club were respecting the cup as usual and that the evening’s game against Bradford Town should be a cracker, and it was. Bridgy’s squad showed a number of casualties, not least defender Josh White and off the back of four defeats and nine goals conceded in the last three games, Dave Pearse and Karl Baggaley had their work cut out against the Wiltshire side who have played some fine football all season and were in no mood to change at Fairfax Park.

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Clevedon Town 2 - 3 Street
Premier Division

With moments left of what had been a superbly gripping Premier Division match, teenage Gambian student Saikou Janneh curled a free-kick past Street keeper Tom Punchard for what would have been a dramatic late equaliser to wreck the champion elect’s long winning streak which is now well into the 20s, writes Kerry Miller. A split second earlier substitute Ben Amghar had rushed to the goalline as the visiting defensive wall was in a tangle and he was able to hack the ball off the line with the home crowd ready to celebrate what would have been a richly deserved point. It was not the final play in a stunning match which had drama a plenty with a late sending off and a clutch of bookings caused by passion rather than skulduggery and Street will not come any nearer losing their proud record.

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Willand Rovers 1 - 1 Hallen
Premier Division

Willand missed the chance to put more pressure on the three other sides chasing runaway Street when they could only draw 1-1 with visiting Hallen at Silver Street on Wednesday night writes Kerry Miller.

In truth they were fortunate to not to lose as the Bristolians showed that they had not made the awkward trip down just to be bit part players and caused Rovers problems throughout, frustrating them and the home supporters who had watched their side put in a similar show last time out against Hallen’s neighbours Cribbs. Willand welcomed back Craig Veal for a rare return after he had been part of Taunton Town’s Southern League West title-winning side although the game only went ahead after a day long graft from clubmen who worked on the pitch which was under water that morning. Willand may be third in the league table but with west country TV targeting the village with a piece on flooding, it could be that they are second in the water table only to Atlantis and it was a miracle that the game was played was gripping throughout.

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Wells City 0 - 3 Street
Premier Division

With the clubs seemingly going in opposite directions in a few weeks time and Street looking to prolong their winning streak to record proportions, a surprise result at the Athletic Grounds on Tuesday was unlikely from the beginning writes Kerry Miller.

With the champions elect more or less at full strength and the home side fielding any number of changes from that printed in the programme, most believed it would take several miracles welded together for a shock to happen and when leading scorer Steve Murray nodded his side into the lead inside two minutes and Aiden Chainey doubled he lead ten minutes later, reality hit home.

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Bishops Lydeard 2 - 6 Welton Rovers
First Division

A three goal blitz at the start of the first half effectively settled this game before the home side had chance to mount a worthwhile attack and gave visiting Welton Rovers a welcome boost in their quest for an FA Cup spot next season writes Kerry Miller.

Welton ignored the awkward journey down, not helped by the aftermath of a fatal road crash at Burrowbridge, the incessant rain and a late arrival which meant a rushed warm up, to dismantle the home defence with wing man Chris Pile involved in all three. With less than 90 seconds on referee Andy Hobbs’ watch, Rovers picked Lydeard’s pocket with a sweet move ending with Pile rolling in the opener off the near post.

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Shepton Mallet 2 - 2 Bridport
AET 2 - 2
Penalties 3 - 1
Les Phillips Cup

That Shepton Mallet have secured a place in the semi-final of the Les Phillips Cup against Bridgwater Town, is in no small measure down to the heroics of several people, the line-up led by inspirational young goalkeeper Tom Easterbrook writes Kerry Miller.

At well past 5.30pm and with the rest of the Western League world, barring Malmesbury and Wincanton Town, having decamped to try the first cider of the evening, Easterbrook pulled off a trio of superb saves in the penalty shoot out to send his side through to the last four and the chance of a final appearance on May 7 at Longwell Green Sports FC.

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Chard Town 1 - 1 Ashton & Backwell United
First Division

James Boyland took advantage of a static visiting defence to rescue a point for Chard at Zembard Lane on Thursday evening against an Ashton and Backwell United side whose play belied their lowly position in the Western League First Division writes Kerry Miller.

A temporary lull in the almost permanent downpours and the intelligent suggestion to delay the game by 24 hours allowed it to go ahead and apart from a couple of squidgy areas the pitch played very well and allowed the teams to play some good stuff and the draw was in the end a fair result.

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Wincanton Town 0 - 6 Weston-super-Mare
Somerset Premier Cup (Quarter Final)

The Western League’s interest in this year’s Somerset Premier Cup ended on Wednesday night when First Division Wincanton Town went down to defeat at the hands of National League South Weston-super-Mare writes Kerry Miller.

The Seagulls showed respect for the competition by fielding a strong side for the tie which was rearranged and staged at the fifth attempt, on Keynsham Town’s 4G pitch with Wincanton suggesting that they may not be able to play at home again this season and Weston agreeing to play on the neutral ground.

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Keynsham Town 4 - 1 Oldland Abbotonians
First Division

Keynsham returned to the Crown Field on Good Friday after three games on the road and only one goal with a victory over Oldland Abbotonians which although comfortable in the end was nowhere near as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests, writes Kerry Miller.

Two goals from leading scorer Matt Brown and strikes from Craig Wilson and Ben Bament delivered the three points and kept Town tucked in behind Westbury United and Roman Glass St George, who both won at the same time, and set them up for the final seven game push ending, weather permitting with a home game with Chippenham Park on April 28.

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Paulton Rovers 4 - 1 Wellington
Somerset Premier Cup (Semi-Final)

Southern League Paulton Rovers duly took their place in the final of this year’s Somerset Premier Cup by beating Wellington on Tuesday night but the scoreline does the visitors little justice as they fought to the end and for a brief period mid way through the second half had the home side on the back foot writes Kerry Miller.

Both teams respected the competition as best they could with Rovers’ manager Jon Rendell fielding a strong line up once again while Wellington boss Clive Jones had a number of players away on a prearranged trip to Wembley for England’s game with Italy, including the Bryant clan who must have been feeling financially flush at some stage as all four brothers went.

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Bridport 1 - 0 Bridgwater Town
Premier Division

A curled free-kick from Andy Martin just past the half hour mark was enough to separate these sides after an entertaining and full blooded game at St Mary’s Field on Monday evening writes Kerry Miller.

On paper this was a routine mid table clash with an end of season feel to it but it was anything but that with a number of back stories to the game. Bridgwater arrived missing no less than nine first team squad players who were not available for a number of reasons, mainly due to the unusual Monday night staging, but were keen to continue their good run of form which included Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Bitton in the Les Phillips Cup quarter-final.

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Devizes Town 0 - 1 Keynsham Town
First Division

Keynsham Town showed their battling qualities on Tuesday night at a chilly Nursteed Road when taking the vital single goal victory with a header from Jamie Price despite playing for an hour with ten men writes Kerry Miller.

It was harsh on Devizes Town who had dominated large parts of the game and in Ali Bradley had the best player on the pitch but the Bristolians hung in and struck with 15 minutes left to briefly go top of the table once more and to rid themselves of any aftertaste following Saturday’s heavy defeat at Roman Glass St George.

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Roman Glass St George 3 - 0 Keynsham Town
First Division

With the two sides having collectively gone around 40 games since tasting defeat and both enjoying playing their home games on 4G surfaces, a close game full of football and goals was expected on Saturday at Oaklands Park writes Kerry Miller.

In fact it was Roman Glass who dominated proceedings and scored all the goals and thereby took their turn at the summit of Division One, with just a point separating them, Keynsham and Westbury United who edged a win at Ashton and Backwell United at the same time.

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Street 2 - 0 Willand Rovers
Premier Division

A double from Josh Wadham all but wrapped up the Toolstation Western League Premier Division title on Tuesday night at a chilly Tannery where Street made it an impressive 19 league wins on the spin in front of a crowd of 200 plus writes press officer Kerry Miller.

It was a clinical display against second placed Willand Rovers from the Cobblers who were gifted the opener just past the half hour and then sealed the deal midway through the second half to take another step towards the goal of Southern League football in August. Street were without Dave O’Hare who was carrying a knock while Willand were missing Jordan Annear and Angus Wilson from the projected squad and after a cagey opening Jake Mawford blazed over for Street from distance.

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Hengrove Athletic 3 - 1 Odd Down (Bath)
Premier Division

Hengrove had an extra day to prepare their Norton Lane pitch after the weather had left it looking like the Tundra at the weekend and the graft showed as the surface was in excellent nick for the visit of Odd Down on Wednesday. With recent transfers meaning several players lining up against their former sides the game was bound to have a spicy edge which made it very watchable with Asa White marking his return to Hengrove from Odd Down with an almost inevitable double which paved the way for the three points.

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Bishop Sutton 6 - 0 Warminster Town
First Division

Visiting Warminster were soon wishing that Sutton’s Lakeside pitch was still under a foot of snow on Tuesday night when their awkward cross country journey from Wiltshire turned into a nightmare evening in Division One of the Toolstation Western League.

Midway through the first half Sutton were already 5-0 up and had also had one chalked off for offside and Town needed snookers as the home attack enjoyed the wide open spaces of the opposition defence. Striker Oaklan Buck netted twice inside seven minutes and went on to complete a hat-trick and could have had half a dozen himself but to Warminster’s credit they reorganised after the break and played some football themselves although the damage was irreparable by then.

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Bradford Town 1 - 0 Shepton Mallet
Premier Division

Wednesday night’s derby at Bradford finished after a tense 90 minutes with both managers sent to the dressing rooms at Trowbridge Road and with one protesting the innocence of the other to the referee after a last minute fracas in front of the dug outs writes Kerry Miller.

In the end it was sorted and it happily did not spoil what was a very watchable match which saw the Bobcats move into joint second spot with Willand Rovers, who on the same night again lost, this time at home to Bitton. A strike from Karim Rendall five minutes before the break proved to be the match winner which was hard on visiting Shepton Mallet who took them all the way and on a better night could well have gone away with a point at least.

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Chard Town 0 - 1 Bridport
Les Phillips Cup

A superb Mark Salter goal after 14 minutes was enough to settle this Les Phillips Cup derby at Zembard Lane on Saturday which had been hyped up during the week and happily did not disappoint writes Kerry Miller.

With Bridport now managed by former Robins’ boss Adam Fricker and most of his squad being ex-Chard players there was some tension before the game with home boss Paul Down saying: "I think it is going to be important to channel emotions and aggression in the right direction. "We will need to perform to our maximum to achieve any sort of result, but as we all know on any given day, cup upsets do happen."

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Wincanton Town 0 - 2 Roman Glass St George
First Division

A goal in each half from Rhys Hodgson and substitute Jordan Yeo were enough to bring Roman Glass St George three points and lift them into second place on goal difference from Keynsham Town, both just a point behind leaders Westbury United, albeit for around 20 hours writes Kerry Miller.

The rare Friday night match at Moor Lane was played under sad circumstances as following the death of club president Tony Barker the match was brought forward as the funeral was at 3pm on the Saturday. In truth there are any number of people who deserve praise for getting the game played which attracted a crowd around double the normal average on a chilly night at Wincanton.

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Melksham Town 4 - 1 Longwell Green Sports
Premier Division

Melksham had more than half an eye on the FA Vase tie with Thatcham Town in 12 days time when they entertained bottom side Longwell Green Sports on Monday night but still eased through to three points, writes Kerry Miller.

With the rain seemingly not having been as sustained since Noah was visiting Ikea with a big truck, the pitch at Oakfields is still stunning and gives some bowling greens a bad name. Any visiting Thatcham Town spies would have noted the surface but may not have gleaned much more crucial information as Town weathered an early storm from Longwell Green before going 4-0 up and declaring with half an hour left, removing Gary Higdon who was on a hat-trick but giving Francois Allen an extended run up front alongside Tyler Sibbick.

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Bitton 0 - 3 Hallen
Premier Division

With the Winter Olympics in South Korea just around the corner Hallen produced a gold medal performance in driving snow at Bitton on Tuesday night to wrap up three well deserved points writes Kerry Miller.

A hat-trick from captain Aaron Anglin sewed up the victory as they followed up their home win over Odd Down with another win on what was a superb playing surface considering the relentless poor weather as they defied the elements to play some excellent passing football which a lethargic Bitton side could not cope with. Bizarrely the win was built around back to back penalties within the space of three minutes either side of half-time, both put away with the minimum of fuss by Anglin, who benefitted from some unselfish and non-stop running from his side, and in particular Sam Skidmore who gave the home defence no end of grief all night.

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Marske United 2 - 0 Bradford Town
FA Vase

In the end it was one match too many for the lads from Bradford Town, who nevertheless did their club, the Western League and the competition proud throughout the day before bowing out of the FA Vase for another season writes Kerry Miller.

Two goals from home striker Danny Earl were enough to give his side a place in Monday’s last eight draw on a day which showed showed no signs of improving and in fact deteriorated as the game went on. Danny Greaves’ side found themselves under intense pressure almost from the word go as Vase favourites Marske continued their quest for a league and national competition double and only good fortune and resolute defending kept the Wiltshire side in the mix although the best side won on the day.

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Cheddar 4 - 1 Warminster Town
First Division

Shaun Potter’s side went into Tuesday’s home clash with Warminster Town knowing that a victory by two clear goals would leapfrog his Cheddar side into the giddy heights of fourth place in the Toolstation Western League Division One writes Kerry Miller.

Doubtless he would have been unprepared for what was in the end a bizarre match which had seen a sending off and three bookings, three goals including an own goal from the visitors and both managers being lectured more than once, before the first period was even half done.

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Bridgwater Town 3 - 1 Clevedon Town
Premier Division

With Bridgwater having lost their last four home games and Clevedon unbeaten in seven, few would have predicted the outcome of this match but it was never in doubt as the Robins rarely looked in any danger and celebrated the returned Jack Taylor, who netted twice in a frantic first half, writes Kerry Miller.

With only three other Toolstation Western League matches beating the constant rain which has plagued the west country since Christmas, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Fairfax Park pitch looking perfectly playable and the early positive decision meant a healthy 207 assembled to see a feisty first half with four goals followed by a slightly less hectic second period.

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Keynsham Town 2-0 Almondsbury
First Division

For the second time in seven days Almondsbury took the league leaders to the final minutes before succumbing to a narrow defeat, this time at the Crown Field, Keynsham writes Kerry Miller.

It was hard on the visitors who came within an inch of taking two points off Westbury United last week when they hit the post with the last kick of the match and at Keynsham they were still in the game until a late tap in from Matt Brown sealed the deal.

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Almondsbury 0 - 1 Westbury United
First Division

When Almondsbury skipper Dan Lane watched his bundled shot roll away off the foot of the post with the very last kick of the match, visiting Westbury United had somehow escaped and remained two points clear at the top of the Division One table at a chilly and gloomy Field on Saturday, wrotes Kerry Miller.

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Melksham Town 2 - 1 Crowborough Athletic
FA Vase

Melksham survived two penalties and the loss of influential Luke Ballinger after half an hour to come through against the odds at a breezy and noisy Oakfields on Saturday to take their place in the last 16 of this year’s FA Vase writes Kerry Miller.

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Shepton Mallet 0 - 1 Bridgwater Town
Premier Division

England’s latest test match down under, at the MCG, was played on what is described as a ‘drop in pitch’, which is cultivated elsewhere and then placed in the middle of what for the rest of the time is an Aussie Rules stadium writes Kerry Miller. It was a disaster and a bowler’s nightmare but should they need a replacement the Aussie cricket authorities could do worse then take some tips from the ground staff at West Shepton Playing Fields, whose pitch looked a picture, despite the rain and cold which had engulfed the area over the holiday period. With matches going down all around the South West, a good crowd pitched up to watch two teams who have had mixed first halves of the season while playing attacking football and scoring goals.

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Keynsham Town 5 - 2 Bishop Sutton
First Division

Keynsham Town cemented their place at the top of the Western League Division One on Friday night with a clinical second half display against a youthful Bishop Sutton side who did not deserve such a defeat and scored the two best goals of the evening writes Kerry Miller.

The clubs’ agreement to play on a Friday paid off as almost 200 watched an excellent contest which was all square past the hour mark until Town struck with a defender lying injured in the penalty area and from then on the destination of the three points was never in doubt.

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Bridgwater Town 1 - 2 Wellington
Premier Division

Bridgwater’s ground staff appeared to have worked miracles to get this Boxing Day derby the go ahead from referee Richard Lawrence and it was disappointing for the club and the side that all their hard work came to nothing as Wellington went away thoroughly deserving their three points in front of a fair sprinkling of their own supporters writes Kerry Miller.

Bridgwater were on the back of a run of four straight defeats after an eight game unbeaten run while Clive Jones’s side were looking to improve on just five wins out of 18 league games and with league leaders Street having been at Fairfax Park three days before for an epic battle, it was no surprise that the Robins looked a tad leggy early on until Ryan Burrows escaped and bore down on Tom Welch, only for the ball to bobble away at the crucial moment and the chance went begging.

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Sherborne Town 0 - 0 Wincanton Town
First Division

After much forking and preparation and an 8am start for the club volunteers in readiness for a pitch inspection, the teams ended this Boxing Day derby all square after 90 minutes of toil which produced little in the way of chances but was not short on endeavour writes Kerry Miller.

Sherborne are precariously poised just above Portishead Town at the league basement while Wincanton are safely installed in mid table and the 11.30am kick-off was a good shout for a number of reasons, not least as the clubs sensibly avoided the 1pm slot and with the weather predicted to close in dramatically in the afternoon, all the hard work got the game in and in front of a good crowd at Raleigh Grove.

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Bridgwater Town 2 - 3 Street
Premier Division

With this being a local derby which had plenty of significance to both clubs, not less because of Street boss Richard Fey having managed at Fairfax Park not that long ago, it was never going to be one for the faint-hearted writes Kerry Miller. Happily, it did not disappoint the excellent crowd on what is traditionally the worst Saturday of the season and five first half goals, a missed penalty, seven bookings and a sending off plus a stand up row between the visiting management and most of the grandstand’s spectators all added up to a classic, with Street coming back from a two goal deficit to win.

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Keynsham Town 1 - 0 Portishead Town
First Division

With top of the table Keynsham having netted 14 times in their last two home games and Portishead laying bottom of the pile, it was not unreasonable to expect another possibly embarrassing goal haul at Crown Field last Saturday writes Kerry Miller.

In the end the home side won by a single goal just past the half hour from Matt Curnock and with a following wind and some good fortune Portishead could easily have gone home with a draw after a battling performance on the 4G pitch. Possit are currently coached by former Bristol City favourite Alan Walsh and it shows as he has got them playing good football when given the chance and their defence coped well with the free-scoring Keynsham attack.

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Bradford Town 3 - 3 Cadbury Heath
Premier Division

Bouts of torrential rain throughout the day and evening made this game doubtful right up to near kick-off time but just for a change common sense prevailed and referee Brian Channing’s decision to go ahead was rewarded by a classic at Trowbridge Road to gladden the hearts of the wet and bedraggled writes Kerry Miller.

Title-chasing Bradford took the lead three times but were pegged back by Cadbury Heath and even a 30 man coming together and a sending off deep into injury-time did not take anything away from this match between two sides who play football and score plenty of goals and a share of the six was only some of the story. Town had netted ten in the last three games, including making fine progress in the FA Vase while Cadbury Heath had a free day on Saturday thanks to the weather, having beaten Stonehouse in the GFA Trophy a few days earlier.

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Longwell Green Sports 0 - 1 Bridport
Premier Division

Longwell Green Sports' long wait for their first league win of the season goes on after this frustrating defeat at Shellards Road on Tuesday night, but on the evidence of this display, it shouldn’t be too long in arriving writes Kerry Miller.

With a whole batch of new recruits, interim boss Dan Jackson continues to shuffle his troops and they could well have upset FA Cup heroes Bridport, who arrived after their two and a half hour cross country trek without leading scorer Mark Salter, absent with work commitments, and suspended keeper Jason Hutchings, among others. In the end a left foot drive from Ed Butcher 17 minutes in was enough to separate the sides although Sports came perilously close late on and should have taken a point.

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Melksham Town 2 - 0 Bridgwater Town
FA Vase (Replay)

Goals at the start and finish by the game’s best player, Luke Ballinger, ensured Melksham Town would entertain Southern Counties East side Crowborough Athletic in the fourth round of the FA Vase early next year as they finally got past a determined Bridgwater Town on Monday night at Oakfields, writes Kerry Miller.

It was a far from routine victory as Dave Pearse’s side battled to the end and their travelling support knew they were still in the game until just before the end when Ballinger broke from deep and crashed the clincher past Jake Viney to seal the deal.

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Bridgwater Town 2 - 2 Melksham Town
FA Vase

Before this game a Bridgy supporter handed over to the visiting Melksham Town officials a programme from a match at the Conigre when the former Town club went to Melksham sitting proudly on top of the Premier Division in April 1981 writes Kerry Miller.

It was a throw back to the old days of the classic Western League clashes and was so apt as the 2017 version of the sides played out a breathless old fashioned FA Vase tie on Saturday which ended in a ‘Desmond’ and a eagerly-awaited replay at Melksham on Monday.

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Roman Glass St George 6 - 0 Devizes Town
First Division

Roman Glass St George posted their intentions of going top of the First Division before the game on Wednesday night and within a minute had backed up their words when Lewis Wentland powered forward and his left foot drive with their first attack was too good for Devizes keeper Adam Walters writes Kerry Miller.

It set the scene for the Romans’ second six goal haul in three games and made it an impressive 15 goals scored and none conceded in a week which has indeed seen them go top of the table on goal difference from Keynsham Town. However, despite the early strike, the Wiltshire side weren’t there to make up the numbers and created chances themselves in the first half before being buried in a string display after the break.

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Willand Rovers 3 - 0 Longwell Green Sports
Premier Division

With the home side fielding new boy Owen Howe and the visitors arriving with just a single league point to show for their efforts so far this season, it all pointed to a goal fest at Silver Street on Saturday writes Kerry Miller.

That prediction looked to becoming a reality inside ten minutes as Howe netted twice past a shell-shocked defence but to the immense credit of all concerned they then kept a clean sheet for 75 minutes and could easily have embarrassed the title challengers but for some weak shooting and naïve finishing before substitute Brad Ausden wrapped it up with a third neat the end.

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Clevedon Town 4 - 2 Wellington
Premier Division

With less than 90 seconds on the clock Liam Dempsey hit a drive which moved in the air and was too much for stand-in Wellington keeper Mitch Woodgate on Wednesday night and that set the tone for a straight forward victory for Clevedon Town at the Hand Stadium writes Kerry Miller.

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Warminster Town 2 - 1 Cheddar
Les Phillips Cup

All the omens were looking towards a comfortable passage to round two of the Les Philips Cup for Cheddar on Saturday as they eyed up the possibility of a league and cup double which their current form could not rule out writes Kerry Miller.

Warminster on the other hand were on the back of an 11 match streak without a win and had been hammered 5-1 at home by Cheddar only two weeks earlier and with manager Mark Breffit forced to play himself once again home fans had little more than vague optimism on their minds at the kick-off. Breffit’s side had conceded 25 goals in seven previous games but happily for the Wiltshire men there was never any real chance that they would ship goals again as the defence mounted a brave rearguard in the second half to send the visitors back to the Theatre of Cheese with inter-club honour restored.

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Street 3 - 2 Bradford Town (AET)
Les Phillips Cup

Anyone who witnessed Friday night's epic and who does not feel for Bradford Town must surely have a heart of concrete as they conceded an extra-time winner at almost 10.30pm having played 90 minutes with ten men following a sending off and fighting back from 2-0 down with an equaliser in injury-time writes Kerry Miller.

It was in truth one of the more surreal games that the Tannery can have staged in its 51 year history and one which happily debunks the theory that cup football is dead.

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Radstock Town 1 - 0 Bishop Sutton
First Division

A penalty midway through the first half from top scorer James Rustell was enough to give Radstock Town all three points from an enjoyable and hard-fought local derby at Southfield on Tuesday night writes Kerry Miller.

The surprise of the night was that there were not more goals as both sides created chances although the Miners squandered more with Rustell unlucky not to add to his tally of 14 so far this season. It takes them second in the table just two points behind leaders West bury United and with neighbours Welton Rovers on a roll and just two further points adrift it is turning into a fascinating campaign.

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Willand Rovers 2 - 0 Hengrove Athletic
Premier Division

Willand duly moved in second place in the Premier Division table, three points behind leaders Street but with a game in hand, after finally getting past a resolute, and in the end slightly unlucky Hengrove side writes Kerry Miller.

Having made the awkward trip down from Bristol, they were not about to roll over and when substitute Billy Vaughan curled a shot inches wide with Mike Searle beaten with two minutes left, it was almost inevitable that Willand substitute Brad Ausden would go up the other end and seal the win only moments later to add salt to the wound.

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Street 2 - 0 Bradford Town
Premier Division

Street took a deserved win on Saturday and in the process went clear at the top of the Premier Division as well as depriving Bradford Town of their unbeaten record writes Kerry Miller.

However, that is far from the end of the story as the game ended with a brawl involving any number of players and a number of bodies who should not have been on the pitch at all. Referee Nigel Whitfield may well have to submit a report on the goings on after he sent Bradford’s Billy Fletcher off following an altercation after the whistle, a flare was set off at the far end and a Street fan went onto the pitch to get involved. Married with punches thrown it was not a pretty sight and a number will have to have a long look at themselves, not least the visiting assistant manager who spent virtually the whole game abusing the referee and was the last man off the pitch, still in the official’s face. How he escaped a red card is anyone’s guess.

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Welton Rovers 2 - 2 Portishead Town
First Division

Despite the vocal support from their version of Paulton’s old 'Crackers' Corner, stood on the terracing by the site of the old bowling green at West Clewes, Welton Rovers threw away the chance to go second in the table when they drew 2-2 with lowly Portishead on Tuesday night, writes Kerry Miller.

It was a strange game which began well before dozing off until coming to life with a start on the hour and three goals in as many minutes had the emotions gangling and temperatures rising ending with six bookings, two sendings off and four goals.

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Buckland Athletic 3 - 2 Bridport
Premier Division

The scenario for Buckland prior to kick-off was straight forward, in that they needed to beat Western League FA Cup heroes Bridport by 15 clear goals at Homer Heath on Tuesday night to go top above Street on goal difference writes Kerry Miller.

And when Jared Lewington crashed a 25 yard drive against the post before the half hour with his side already 3-0 up, then for a while it looked as if Adam Fricker’s weakened side would be on the receiving end of the bulk of them. With Fricker away working and Tom Richardson, Richard Hebditch, Leigh Bailey and others not there for various reasons the Bees patched up side looked like cannon fodder for the home side who are chasing a place in the Southern League and have the impressive home ground to back up their ambition.

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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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