Uhlsport Somerset County League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 3, Clutton 1

ILMINSTER Town boosted their chances of a top-half finish this season with a 3-1 home win over relegation-threatened Westfield on Saturday, writes Andy Fish.

The Blues had had the previous weekend off, due to a waterlogged pitch, and manager Andy Dyke had a full squad to pick from for the first time in a while.

Taylor Jefferson, Ben Pitman and Charlie Rutter were the unlucky ones to miss out on a starting place, with Will Spurway taking the captain’s armband.

Westfield had the strong wind at their backs in the first half, and attacked from the off, with Blues goalkeeper Chris May having to be alert to make a low save from winger Olly Jones in the fifth minute.

The visitors continued to look dangerous, Jones in particular, and they took the lead from the penalty spot, after Brad Pitman was adjudged to have fouled his man from behind.

Skipper Darren Gibbs made no mistake with the spot-kick to put his side ahead.

The wind meant possession football was never likely, but Ilminster were struggling to get a foothold in the game.

Westfield looked more likely to add to their lead, and Pitman did well to block Jones’ goal-bound effort after the winger had cut inside.

The two then clashed again, and although Pitman’s tackle looked strong and fair, Jones was forced to limp off with an ankle injury.

The Blues were content only to trail 1-0 at half-time, knowing that the elements would favour them in the second half.

A Westfield counter-attack led to a shot coming back off the post, which seemed to wake the hosts up.

After Brad Miles had shot narrowly over, Carl Lazenby tried his luck from distance and the shot took a big deflection, giving keeper Chris Wright no chance and making it 1-1.

The home side were on top now, though the visitors were a threat on the counter and Pitman had to make a fine tackle to prevent a scoring chance.

Ilminster introduced their substitutes for the last 30 minutes, and Jefferson put his side ahead with a free-kick from 20 yards out.

Most would have expected him to try and curl it past the wall, but with the wall jumping Jefferson rolled it low into the bottom corner.

And Jefferson had a decisive impact again in Ilminster’s third goal, controlling the ball and running across the face of goal to set up Miles for a confident finish.

This was far from an easy afternoon for the Blues, but it was a job well done in difficult conditions.

Ilminster Town: Chris May, Luke Paul, Josh Phillips, Doug Whitfield, Brad Miles, Brad Pitman, Alex Paul, Carl Lazenby, Will Spurway, Andy Whitefield.
Substitutes (all used): Ben Pitman, Taylor Jefferson, Charlie Rutter.

Another side at the wrong end of the table come to the Archie Gooch Pavilion next Saturday (ko 3pm), with second from bottom Wrington Redhill the visitors.

On Saturday they lost 2-0 away at Middlezoy Rovers, who sit one place and four points above the Blues in seventh spot.