Somerset County Premier

Ilminster Town 1, Nailsea & Tickenham 2

TOP of the table Nailsea & Tickenham, unbeaten in their last ten matches, are the form side in the division, writes Andy Fish.

They certainly showed why with a fast-paced powerful performance against Ilminster Town.

One thing is for sure - the improving Ilminster can feel a little bit disappointed to not have taken at least a point with a whole-hearted second-half display.

The match started at a fantastic pace with Nailsea attacking towards the Pavilion and Chris May was called on to make a good save.

Nailsea top scorer Luke Osgood also had a shot that May pushed wide for a corner as the pressure mounted.

Andy Whitefield gave his side some breathing space with a brilliant solo run out wide and out-stripping the Nailsea defenders, but as he cut inside his shot crept just wide.

Nailsea were making the most of their advantage attacking downhill missing out their midfield and winning a succession of corners and long throw-ins.

However, Blues captain Charlie Rutter was immense time after time, winning the ball and heading clear.

A free-kick thundered against the Ilminster crossbar from 25 yards out as Ilminster rode their luck but, then, on 25 minutes, another corner was punched by May but the ball stuck Will Spurway and agonisingly went in as an own goal.

Ilminster never buckled as young Josh Phillips released Andy Whitefield with a great pass. He once again outpaced the defence but his shot hit the side-netting.

Nailsea broke the off side trap but May saved brilliantly with his feet.

Within minutes of the half-time whistle, Nailsea had a lucky break as Mitch Brooks' shot took a deflection to give May no chance and make it 2-0.

Ilminster came out attacking right from the off and won a corner on the left.

The ball was cleared to Phillips who saw his goalbound effort strike a defender before finding the bottom corner to make it 1-2.

It was all Ilminster now as they dominated the midfield; Spurway, Brad Miles and particularly Lee Sweet started to take advantage as the home side pushed for an equaliser.

Andy Dyke then gambled by taking Rutter who had been magnificent defensively and brought on the pace of Taylor Jefferson. Carl Lazenby also joined a four-pronged all-out attack as Ilminster went for broke.

Lee Sweet used all his strength and skill to burst through but his pass to Phillips was overhit.

Jefferson had an overhead kick blocked as Ilminster tried in vain but Nailsea held out to take all three points.

By the way they celebrated at the final whistle they knew this was a big win for them against tough opposition.

For Ilminster, Rutter and Phillips both had tremendous matches but it was Sweet who has given the team more balance and drive and was man of the match.

Ilminster - Chris May, Josh Phillips, Luke Paul, Doug Whitfield,Brad Pitman, Brad Miles, Lee Sweet, Ben Pitman, Will Spurway, Charlie Rutter, Andy Whitefield. Subs (used) - Carl Lazenby, Taylor Jefferson.