Somerset League Premier
Fry Club 0, Ilminster Town 1

ILMINSTER Town were up against league leaders Fry Club for the second time in two weeks and, after the precious point secured at home in a 1-1 draw, more of the same would be very welcome, writes Andy Fish.

Alex Paul was suspended and was replaced by Ben Pitman, returning from injury.

George Miles was also absent after injuring his hip midweek playing for the Army.

Ilminster surpassed all expectations with a brilliant 1-0 away victory thanks to a Taylor Jefferson first-half goal, resolute defending and a fine performance from goalkeeper Chris May.

Due to heavy motorway traffic, Ilminster had little time for a warm-up but they started very well as they matched the home side.

Jefferson used his pace to good effect as he had the first real half-chance in the 20th minute but his shot was well saved by the Fry keeper.

Right back Phillips showed his class with some great defending and with Luke Paul looking really accomplished alongside Doug Whitfield and left back Ashley Lock, the defence looked really solid as Fry who had plenty of the ball without really threatening the Ilminster goal.

Half an hour into the match, skipper Charlie Rutter flew into a 50/50 tackle which he won before launching a superb 35-yard pass to the unmarked Jefferson who ran through on goal and calmly slotted the ball home.

Jefferson, who now is back to his best after recovering from injury, broke through again just before half-time only to see his powerful shot well saved.

Fry Club pushed hard for an equaliser in the second half, Whitfield made one great block and from the resultant corner they really should have scored but the forward headed over the bar from close range.

After 55 minutes, with numbers in the box, they looked set to score but for an incredible double save from the outstanding Chris May.

Brad Pitman came on for Jefferson and made an impact as Ilminster coped well with the onslaught and Jack Read replaced Carl Lazenby to add fresh legs and see the game out.

Once again, mainly due to a fantastic team spirit, they took three points from the league leaders - four in two matches - and pushed the side up to seventh in the table.

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

One bit of bad news for the club is the loss of coach George Hamill from the sidelines on match days.

Recently he has become more involved with Yeovil Town's JPL squads and Advanced Development Centre as goalkeeper coach.

Hamill is now a UEFA B licensed Coach and although he remains close to the club where he trains the goalkeepers he will be missed on the sidelines for his knowledge and calm presence.

On Saturday, in another tough away fixture, Ilminster visit reigning champions Chilcompton, who currently lie third in the table with matches in hand on Fry Club and Shirehampton.

Matt Rowswell and his young Reserve team are home in the Perry Street League Division 1 Cup semi-final where his fifth-placed team are up against league leaders Thorncombe, in what should be a good contest, kicking off at 2pm at the Archie Gooch Pavilion.