Uhlsport Somerset County League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 3, Keynsham Town Res 2

AFTER the previous week’s fine performance against Fry Club, you would have thought caretaker manager Charlie Rutter would have the easy job of naming the same team for Saturday’s match at home to Keynsham Town Reserves, writes Andy Fish.

However, with four players out, the strength in depth at the club saw Rich Crabb, Ben Pitman, Andy Whitefield and Rutter himself come in for Carl Lazenby and Owen Burn, who had both picked up injuries, plus Chris Hastings and top scorer Taylor Jefferson, who were unavailable.

For all of those changes, Ilminster were quick out of the blocks and Andy Whitefield went close.

Keynsham have had a good start to the season though, and after three players dispossessed Lee Sweet in possession, Ilminster seemed to stop as a long ball caught them out.

Pat Davison’s first shot was well saved by Jack Rutter but he netted the rebound for a seventh-minute opener.

Ilminster responded well, Rutter and Sweet going close, and on 19 minutes Josh Phillips broke from midfield and played a great one-two with Whitefield before finding the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

After the half-time break, Phillips’ twice went close, then turned provider after a good break down the right by Luke Paul; Phillips’ cross was headed home by the diving Whitefield.

The visitors were not done, however, and the talented Liam Crispen hit an absolute screamer into the top corner to make it 2-2.

With time running out, it looked like both sides would settle for a draw.

Ilminster had other ideas, though, and a quick counter-attack down the left led to Whitefield crossing and man of the match Phillips arriving to sweep the ball home.

Ilminster Town: Jack Rutter, Luke Paul, Darren Hutchins, Rich Crabb, Ben Pitman, Doug Whitfield (c), Will Spurway, Lee Sweet, Josh Phillips, Andy Whitefield, Charlie Rutter. Subs (used): Mitch Hooper, Noah Kryzynski, Mike Whitefield.

Now in seventh, the Blues are at home again this Saturday, facing second-placed Middlezoy Rovers at the Archie Gooch Pavilion (ko 2pm).


South West Women’s League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 3, Bishops Lydeard 1

SUNDAY saw Ilminster Town Ladies host Bishops Lydeard and a win would see Ilminster jump into third spot in the league, ahead of their opponents.

It was Ilminster who created the first meaningful chance - and it put them ahead in the fourth minute.

A great bit of work down the right-hand side saw Georgia Coward whip a ball into the box, which found captain Sarah Miller.

She expertly brought the ball down with her chest and dispatched it on the volley.

Ilminster went the closest to scoring another in this half through Colette Martin and Abbie Carslake, who forced good saves out of the Lydeard keeper.

The home team came out firing early in the second half and this early pressure told once again as they doubled their lead in the 48th minute, this time through Carslake.

Colette Martin wriggled her way past a couple of defenders and played the ball to the feet of Carslake, who, on the edge of the 18-yard box, hit the ball home just under the crossbar.

It only took Ilminster 10 minutes to extend their lead.

A ball down the right that looked like it was going to go out of play was delightfully crossed into the box by Graziely Esperanca.

It found Martin at the far post, who calmly volleyed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

Bishops Lydeard were slowly working their way into more dangerous positions and reduced the arrears in the 77th minute.

A ball over the top found a Lydeard attacker, who calmly tucked the ball home into the bottom right hand corner.

After a nervy last few minutes, Ilminster held firm to seal the points; it was a great team performance, with every player working hard.

Ilminster Town: Charlotte Johnson, Georgia Coward, Dana Andrews, Daisy Charles, Maisie Parker, Sarah Miller (c), Charlie Pettinger, Georgia Mann, Colette Martin, Graziely Esperanca, Abbie Carslake. Subs (all used): Hannah Billing, Nicola Johnson, Holly Ward. Player of the match: Sarah Miller (sponsored by Mitchams Chartered Accountants).

Ilminster travel to second-placed Callington Town on Sunday (2pm), and a win for the Blues would put them second in the table.