Somerset County League Premier & First Division Cup

Minehead 0, Ilminster Town 1

Ilminster Town travelled to Minehead in the Somerset County Premier/Division One League Cup for this first round tie, writes Andy Fish.

Last season, Minehead got through to the final of this cup, where they finished runners-up to Premier League Middlezoy Rovers.

So this match was never going to be easy against the Division One side, especially with six players out for one reason or another.

With so many changes, it was not surprising that Minehead looked the better team, creating a few half chances in the first half hour without really threatening Jack Rutter.

Ilminster finally got into their stride for the last 15 minutes of the half as they finished the stronger going into the break.

After the restart, Ilminster again enjoyed good possession but, against the run of play, Minehead won a penalty which looked to be outside of the box.

Luckily for Ilminster, the penalty struck the foot of the post and bounced away to safety.

This seemed to lift Ilminster as they looked for the opening goal, but the final ball was not good enough.

The first real chance was created when Andy Whitefield unselfishly squared the ball to his fellow strike partner Taylor Jefferson in the box but he could not get his shot off in time as he was quickly closed down.

Then, when a free-kick was awarded on the right, the quick thinking Lee Sweet fed Whitefield, who made no mistake with a fierce fist time shot from just outside the box to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Minehead changed formation, moving to a 4-3-3 as they tried to get back in the game, but Rutter made a couple of great saves to keep his side in front.

As Ilminster tired, Minehead really went for it but couldn’t find a way past young Rutter or his defence, who really dug in to earn their clean sheet.

All the players that came in from the reserves did really well, with George Pugson just about pipping Jack Rutter for the man of the match award for a great defensive display at right back in his first senior start of the season.

This cup triumph makes it four wins in a row for the in-form Town.

Ilminster: Jack Rutter, George Pugson, Luke Paul, Doug Whitfield (c), Owen Burn, Ben Pitman, Rich Crabb, Josh Phillips, Lee Sweet, Taylor Jefferson, Andy Whitefield; Subs Used: Sam Hopkinson, George Gilman, Jack Read

There was both good and bad news this week in the Ilminster camp as Josh Phillips, the highly talented defender, returned to the club after a spell at Bridport in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division.

This has just come at the right time, with Brad Pitman being ruled out for a few weeks with a broken bone in his ankle.