Somerset County League Premier Division

Worle 3, Ilminster Town 1

THE top six of the Somerset County Premier League are all good teams, with them pulling away eight points clear of the mid-table pack, and Worle, who sit sixth in the table, were the Blues last opponents of 2018, writes Andy Fish.

Ilminster started poorly, conceding a corner in the first minute that they should have dealt with better, only to give Worle a second corner where Luke Paul got his head to the ball only to see it flash past Chris May for an own goal.

It took Ilminster until the 15-minute mark to have their first meaningful attack only for Taylor Jefferson to mishit his shot.

Ashley Lock picked up an injury in the 22nd minute and was replaced at left back by Richard Crabb.

Worle, a big strong physical outfit with some very experienced players, began to dominate and produced some good football where Chris May did well, saving from close range.

For the second time, a corner led to Ilminster conceding, as Simon Hudson lost his man at the far post and headed home.

Two down at the break, Ilminster made a couple of adjustments to the shape of the team that seemed to help and, with five minutes of the half gone, Charlie Rutter did well to get in a shot that looked well over the line but, with the referee viewing from a difficult position, he didn't give the goal.

Carl Lazenby pulled up and was replaced by Andy Whitefield and he had an immediate impact with some strong runs down the left.

Worle made it 3-0 when Chris Taylor scored his 11th goal of the season with a good shot from the edge of the box.

With an hour gone, Will Spurway replaced Rutter and his slick passing helped Ilminster to begin to take control as they enjoyed good possession, Ilminster were rewarded when Alex Paul reduced the arrears with a well-taken goal as he had the presence of mind to chip the keeper from the edge of the area.

Overall, it was a very good second half performance from the Blues but you can’t give a top six side a 2-0 lead before you start playing.

Ilminster - Chris May, Luke Paul, Ashley Lock, Doug Whitfield, Brad Miles, Brad Pitman, Alex Paul, Ben Pitman, Carl Lazenby, Taylor Jefferson, Charlie Rutter. Subs (used) - Will Spurway, Andy Whitefield, Richard Crabb.

Next up for Ilminster is a home fixture on Saturday against mid-table Stockwood Green with a 2pm kick-off at The Archie Gooch Pavilion.

The consolation goal takes Alex Paul to 128 goals first team goals, joint second in the all time goalscoring table alongside Darren Manley.

Paul made his debut in the 2001/02 season and has played for Ilminster most of that time but has also had spells at Chard Town and more recently at Barrington. Another milestone will soon be achieved as he currently sits on 297 appearances.