Uhlsport Somerset County League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 1, Stockwood Wanderers 0

STOCKWOOD were the visitors on Saturday for the second time this season, writes Andy Fish.

Back in September, two Taylor Jefferson strikes decided a Somerset Senior Cup match, and the squad was boosted by his return to the bench after six weeks out with a broken wrist.

In a very tight match, it was Ilminster who came out on top thanks to a 30-yard thunderbolt from the left foot of George Miles and some excellent goalkeeping from man of the match Chris May, including a fine first-half penalty save.

The first 20 minutes produced no efforts on goal, until Ilminster won the free-kick from which Miles scored.

After the goal, Ilminster tended to drop a little too deep and it came as no surprise when Stockwood won a penalty after Brad Pitman had dived in during a goalmouth scramble.

Fresh from his two routine penalty saves in the cup last week, May guessed the right way and, at full stretch, made a fine save to keep his side ahead.

The visitors took the game to Ilminster but May stood strong.

At the other end, Pitman delivered a great cross into the box, and Charlie Rutter headed it down for Carl Lazenby, who was eased off the ball with the Blues strongly appealing for a penalty, but referee George Cross, who had a good match, waved play on.

On the stroke of half time, a run by the Stockwood forward saw him break into the box and his shot hit the post.

The second period began with Ilminster starting to stretch the visitors, with Alex Paul bossing the midfield, but Stockwood came again and May made two more good saves.

Jefferson replaced young Josh Phillips with 25 minutes left but even he found it hard to break down a strong Stockwood defence who took no prisoners and picked up five bookings in the process.

Alex Paul picked up an injury after another late challenge, but he limped on up front and headed against the post as the Blues finished the stronger.

This was an excellent three points against a tough, physical side and the whole team stuck to the task well, but it was May – back to his best – who really made the difference.

Ilminster: Chris May, Luke Paul, George Miles, Andrew Male, Doug Whitfield, Brad Miles, Brad Pitman, Charlie Rutter, Alex Paul, Carl Lazenby, Josh Phillips.

This Saturday, Ilminster (up to ninth in the table) host basement side Odd Down Reserves (ko 3pm).


South West Women’s League
Premier Division
Marine Academy Plymouth 4, Ilminster Town Ladies 1

ILMINSTER played last season’s league runners-up, and got off to a slow start, going a goal down after just five minutes.

The Blues struggled to create chances but they started to get the ball down and Maisie Parker went close, before Marine extended their lead in the 17th minute.

In the second half, Ilminster restricted Marine’s chances but still struggled to create their own.

After missing a penalty, the home side did find the net again in the 71st minute, then sealed the result with five minutes remaining, from a corner.

Ilminster did not give up and were rewarded when some clever work from Maisie Parker in the midfield saw her work the ball to Dee Clarke-Trott Cracknell.

She drove into the box well and was then fouled by the defender, earning a penalty, which was calmly slotted to the left by youngster Abbie Carslake.

Ilminster’s player of the match was keeper Charlotte Johnson, who pulled off a number of excellent saves.

Ilminster: Charlotte Johnson, Charlie Pettinger, Daisy Charles, Dana Andrews, Abbie Carslake, Sarah Miller (c), Meg Purchase, Dee Clarke-Trott Cracknell, Maisie Parker, Colette Martin, Lesley Spearing. Sub: Amy Goss.

Ilminster will look to bounce back this coming Sunday, when they take on Downend Flyers at the Archie Gooch Pavilion (ko 2pm).