Somerset League Premier

Ilminster Town 0, Middlezoy Rovers 3

A MID-morning pitch inspection was passed, so Ilminster finally got to play a match in December after four blank weekends, writes Andy Fish.

Both sides cancelled each other out in the opening exchanges, with Ilminster perhaps shading the first ten minutes before Middlezoy created the first real chance when a header was tipped over by Chris May.

With half an hour on the clock and both midfields cancelling each other out, from a Chris May goal-kick young right-back Josh Phillips, who had handled the dangerous looking left winger Matt Connick well, for some reason wandered into midfield where he challenged for a header.

The ball broke wide to Connick who had a clear run at goal. Luke Paul tried to close him down but Connick side-stepped him before scoring with a cool finish in the bottom corner.

Within two minutes, left back Ashley Lock miss-hit a back pass that went out for a corner and Middlezoy made the most of the height advantage when Callum Laird powered his header home.

Ilminster responded well with their best football of the half. From a free-kick, the clearance was picked up by Alex Paul who was having a good match in the midfield and, from 30 yards his long range effort thundered against the crossbar.

Then, right on the stroke of half-time, Paul intercepted a pass and was in on goal but, with the bottom end of the pitch still wet and muddy, the ball never ran true and his shot sailed over the bar.

A goal just before half-time would have changed the momentum but it wasn’t to be.

The second half was again even with most of the match congested in midfield, Ilminster did work an opening but, for the second time, Ilminster hit the woodwork as Carl Lazenby saw his shot clip the top of the crossbar.

Ilminster tried their best to get back into the match as the clock ticked down with all three substitutes coming on, including Will Spurway who began to dictate play with his clever passing but it was Middlezoy who scored the important next goal on the break as Connick raced clear and Adam Long finished the move to make it 3-0.

To sum up, Middlezoy, who moved above Ilminster in the table with the win were more clinical in front of goal and were aggressive all afternoon.

For Ilminster, who left centre forward Charlie Rutter unused on the bench, played as if he was still there by knocking high long balls forward which the tall Zoy centre halves dealt with easily.

On another day the chances missed would have gone in and without the two mistakes they would have taken something from the game.

The most important thing for the Blues, despite the defeat, was that they managed to get a game under their belts, as no amount of training can replace actual game time.

Ilminster - Chris May, Luke Paul, Ashley Lock, Josh Phillips, Doug Whitfield, Brad Miles, Brad Pitman, Alex Paul, Ben Pitman, Carl Lazenby, Taylor Jefferson.

Subs (used) - Will Spurway, Andy Whitefield, Jack Read.

On Saturday (Dec 29) the team travel to Worle who are enjoying a fine season and sit in sixth place in the table (ko 2pm).

With the Reserves in the Perry Street Division 1 Cup final on Saturday against Forton Rangers (ko 1pm), both 17-year-olds, Jack Read and Josh Phillips, will be left out of the first team squad so they can play in the final.