Uhlsport Somerset County League Premier Division

Ilminster Town 1, Fry Club 1

TABLE-TOPPING Fry Club visited the Archie Gooch Pavilion on Saturday and showed why they are the team to beat this season with some tremendous football, writes Andy Fish.

But Ilminster, rejuvenated after three straight wins, showed tremendous guts and character in holding the leaders to a draw.

Both sides could have won it in the last 10 minutes, as twice young substitute Jack Read found himself in good positions, and at the other end it took two world-class saves from Chris May to deny the league leaders.

The Blues, with the advantage of a strong wind in the first half, created the first clear-cut chance as a Andy Whitefield free-kick found the head of Carl Lazenby, but his header was well saved.

Ilminster were taking full advantage of the wind as they enjoyed the better of the half, Taylor Jefferson having a lot of joy on the left and cutting inside, but his shot lacked power.

Ilminster knew they needed a goal, they got it – and what a goal it was.

Carl Lazenby hit a brilliant 40-yard raking cross-field pass that Whitefield instantly controlled before hitting a bullet shot that arrowed into the bottom corner with a slight deflection.

Fry came out of the blocks determine to strike back early and Jefferson made a fine block to keep the lead intact.

The whole defence was under pressure and, just after George Miles had replaced Josh Phillips with 20 minutes left, he was caught cold and Nick Walters levelled with a good finish.

May made one outstanding save from close range and the hosts were reduced to counter-attacks.

It was a long ball from the back that finally caught Ilminster out, as right-back Lewis George volleyed what looked to be the winner, only for May to make an outstanding right-handed save at full stretch.

With Blues captain Charlie Rutter – on his 250th first team appearance – leading by example, the referee blew for time and Ilminster celebrated a well-earned point against an outstanding side.

It really was a complete team effort, with all 14 players giving their all, but once again it was goalkeeper May who was the star man after two fantastic saves earned his side a precious point.

Ilminster Town: Chris May, Luke Paul, Ashley Lock, Josh Phillips, Doug Whitfield, Brad Pitman, Charlie Rutter, Alex Paul, Carl Lazenby, Andy Whitefield, Taylor Jefferson. Subs (used): Ben Pitman, Jack Read, George Miles.

South West Women’s League Premier Division

Exeter City Ladies 4, Ilminster Town Ladies 0

ILMINSTER travelled to free-scoring leaders Exeter City Ladies and got off to a slow start, going 2-0 down as the hosts netted twice from corners in the space of three first-half minutes.

This is how the score stayed going into the break and Ilminster had goalkeeper Charlotte Johnson to thank for keeping the deficit to two.

Ilminster started the second half slowly and were 3-0 down in the 48th minute when the Exeter centre forward found space and finished well from 12 yards.

Ilminster created some chances in the next 10 minutes of the game, but nothing to seriously challenge the Grecians goalkeeper.

Exeter increased their lead in the 63rd minute but there were positives for Ilminster despite the result.

Town selected both Charlotte Johnson and Daisy Charles as joint players of the game.

Johnson was selected for her fantastic efforts in goal and Charles grew into the game and stopped lots of dangerous Exeter attacks.

On Sunday, Ilminster host Forest Green Rovers at the Archie Gooch Pavilion (2pm).

Ilminster: Charlotte Johnson, Shannon Crouch, Daisy Charles, Dana Andrews, Abbie Carslake, Sarah Miller (c), Meg Purchase, Dee Clarke-Trott Cracknell, Maisie Parker, Colette Martin, Lesley Spearing. Substitutions: Amy Goss, Hannah Billing, Graziely Esperanca