Uhlsport Somerset County League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 1, Chilcompton Sports 0

SOMETIMES, working on the training pitch has its rewards, as Ilminster Town worked out their gameplan during the mid-week sessions for the visit of last season's Premier Champions Chilcompton, writes Andy Fish.

And, following it to perfection, they were rewarded with a fine victory.

Chilcompton are still a very good side who play out from the back but they do miss their 38-goal striker and captain from last season, Ryan Gay, who has moved to Southern League side Paulton Rovers.

Without Gay they have lost that cutting edge but it still took a brilliant defensive performance from the Blues to hold out for the victory to take them up to second in the early season table.

There were a few changes from last week - Adam Male slotting into left back with George Miles on holiday, while Ben Pitman started in midfield with Charlie Rutter leading the line.

Early doors, Chilcompton dominated possession, working the ball from one flank to the other while Ilminster tended to look long for Rutter and play on the break.

It took 20 minutes for the first shot of anger as the visitors' No 7 saw his shot sail just wide and Ashley Lock had to be at his best on two occasions as he swept up at the back.

Ilminster kept their shape well and, with 41 minutes on the clock, Brad Miles intercepted a pass, beat a couple of defenders, off-loaded to Rutter who passed to birthday boy Taylor Jefferson (23) who finished with style from 12 yards to give his side the lead against the run of play.

Just after half-time, Chilcompton had a great chance but Chris May made a great save to preserve the lead.

At the other end, Rutter could not quite keep his header down when well placed.

As the second half progressed, the Blues retreated deeper and Chilcompton started to look long but without really threatening the Ilminster goal.

With 20 minutes left, Andy Whitfield and Carl Lazenby replaced Jefferson and Brad Pitman and Whitfield, in particular, caused problems with his pace.

Both sides had goals ruled out by the referee; Jefferson was unlucky that the through ball had struck his hand before he finished well.

Somehow referee Andie Lambourne found nine minutes of added time and when he finally blew his whistle it signalled a loud cheer from the home supporters and a fantastic result for the unbeaten Town.

It was a great team effort all round, with every player giving his all, both the Pitmans - Brad and Ben - covered every blade of grass while Rutter had a great game in attack.

Credit must also go to Darren Manley and his coaching staff of George Hamill and Andy Dyke for the way they set up their team.

Ilminster Town: Chris May, Luke Paul, Adam Male, Ashley Lock, Doug Whitfield, Brad Pitman, Brad Miles, Alex Paul, Ben Pitman, Charlie Rutter, Taylor Jefferson. Subs (used): Andy Whitfield, Carl Lazenby.

Next week is a home tie against Stockwood Wanderers in the first round of the Somerset Senior Cup (ko 2.30pm).


Macron Devon & Exeter League
Division 1
Chard Town Reserves 5, Wellington Reserves 1

CHARD Town Reserves got off to the best of starts to the new season with an emphatic 5-1 victory against visitors Wellington Reserves on Saturday.

A tentative start from both sides in the early stages of the match could not produce any clear scoring chances.

However, on 22 minutes, good work down the field produced a corner from which Connor Richardson scored the opening goal.

This was followed by a Craig Every effort which just wide and a Will Willets chance, deflected outside the post for a corner.

Chard increased their lead minutes before half time, when a through ball found Dan Collins who scored with a first-time strike.

The second half saw both sides up the attacking play, but with Wellington’s goalkeeper sent to the sin bin and their striker red carded, Chard pushed forward and added a third goal when Harry Bodington scored on 48 minutes.

James Boyland replaced Bodington on 72 minutes, and the hosts produced another good move with Connor Richardson crossing well to find Scott Jakeman, who ran through and powered in a first-time shot past the keeper.

With Chard well on top, a fifth goal came when Boyland went through to score on 80 minutes.

Wellington claimed a consolation goal soon after, but it was a well-deserved victory and three points for Chard Town Reserves.

Chard Town Reserves: Alex Cunnold, Owen Dodd, Craig Every, Jake Board (Andre Anjos 76), Chris Atyeo, Connor Richardson, Scott Jakeman, Darren Contreras, Will Willets, Harry Bodington (James Boyland 72), Dan Collins. Subs not used: Kieran Bailey, Nathan Finn.