Somerset County League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 1, Watchet Town 2

FINALLY, after five weeks without a match due to waterlogged pitches, Ilminster Town were back in action against Watchet Town – last season's Somerset County Premier Division champions, who currently sit third in the table, writes Andy Fish.

Watchet, who had played only two weeks ago, were probably expecting the Blues to be a little rusty, but it was Ilminster who set the early tempo, breaking forward and showing no signs of not playing for so long.

The hosts took the lead on 25 minutes, when a cross from the right prompted mayhem in the penalty box, with both Charlie Rutter and Kieron Manley involved, before the ball broke kindly for the alert Taylor Jefferson, who made no mistake from six yards out.

Ilminster were well on top and had chances to increase their lead, as Jake Woodard brought a fine save from the Watchet keeper from a corner, and then Rutter hit the target but could not find the power needed when well-placed.

The second period saw Watchet improve, and within 10 minuets of the restart they were level, as Aaron Deeks raced through with the Blues back-line appealing strongly for offside, and the forward kept his cool to fire past Chris May.

The visitors were on the front foot now and they took the lead from a corner, as slack defending gave them time to pass the ball across the box to Charley Clausen, who made it 2-1.

The Blues came back strongly and got into good positions out wide, but failed to deliver quality balls into the box.

With time running out, a long cross from the right was cleverly knocked back across goal by Karl Davis, but Jefferson failed to keep his shot down from six yards out.

May then made a good save from a Watchet counter-attack to keep the game alive, but the final whistle brought a win for the away side, who celebrated knowing they were lucky to take all three points.

Ilminster's regular right-back Luke Paul was moved to centre-back alongside Jake Woodard, with both club captain Jonny May and fellow central defender Adam Male out with long-term injuries, and both had fine games.

Another bonus for the Blues was the welcome return of the brother of Luke, experienced frontman Alex Paul, who has returned after a spell with Barrington.

Overall, despite being the better side, missed chances cost the Blues, as the side lean too heavily on top scorer Jefferson, who has nine for the season, with goals from other areas hard to come by.

One bonus was that the side certainly looked fit, with Watchet manager Nick Sully complimenting them on their sharpness, so credit is due to the coaching team of Darren Manley, George Hamill and Andy Dyke and their sessions at Huish, Langport.

Next up in a run of home games is a match against mid-table Clevedon United, where the Blues will be looking to get back on track.

It is a 2.30pm kick-off at the Archie Gooch Pavilion.


ILMINSTER Town Ladies were due to play AEK Boco Ladies in the South West Women’s Premier Division on Sunday, but the game was postponed after a pitch inspection.

The Blues are due to visit Downend Flyers this coming Sunday (ko 2pm).


Somerset County League
Division 1 West
Combe St Nicholas 2, Portishead Town Reserves 1

COMBE got three valuable points against a strong Portishead side on Saturday.

The hosts started brightly and created several chances, through Warren Gabbidon and Adam Smith.

The first goal came on 20 minutes, through Adam Markham’s bullet header from a great Oli Hine cross.

Combe continued to press and look for a second goal, which finally came after a Hine corner was finished by top scorer Smith.

Portishead pegged Combe back after the break, but could not find a goal until an 80th-minute penalty.

A goal-line clearance from Simon Loader meant that Combe held on to win.

Managers Neil Holt and James Govier were happy with the overall display, but gave special mention to midfielders Matt Tooze and Mark Biss.

This coming Saturday, Combe entertain Ashton & Backwell United Reserves (ko 2.30pm).

Combe Ladies were in action on Sunday but had a tough day, losing 14-1 at Porlock.

This Sunday they host Purnell Reserves (ko 2pm).