Somerset County Premier/Division 1 Cup
Staplegrove 2, Ilminster Town 3

WITH an away draw in the Somerset County Premier/Division One League cup, Ilminster were glad they were drawn against close neighbours and fellow Premier Side Staplegrove for two reasons, writes Andy Fish.

Not only would it cut down on travelling, but it would also give the Blues a chance to gain revenge for the early season midweek defeat suffered at home in the league fixture in August.

The big news from the Ilminster camp was the return of the influential former skipper and midfielder Brad Miles, who has returned to the club after a spell at Chard Town.

His drive and experience will certainly help the young players who he will have around him.

Ilminster started the brighter and created numerous half-chances in the opening exchanges but, with the game surprisingly open - which is unusual this season in the Somerset County League - Staplegrove also created some good opportunities themselves, but both teams failed to score.

This changed in the 20th minute as Ilminster took the lead through Charlie Rutter from 18 yards after good inter-play with Taylor Jefferson.

The big striker has played well of late, providing a focal point for the attack, and will be delighted to finally get off the mark for the season.

Staplegrove, who looked good on the counter-attack, won a penalty just before half-time but, for the second time this season, Chris May saved well from the spot.

Worse was to follow for the home side, as Taylor Jefferson broke clear to coolly lob the keeper and take his side 2-0 up at the break.

With nothing to lose, Staplegrove stepped up a gear and, 10 minutes into the second half, reduced the deficit when Chris May was given no chance with a long-range effort.

The young Blues team never panicked and continued passing the ball well, and it was Miles who marked his return with a brilliantly-taken Cantona-esque chip to increase his side’s lead.

Rutter and Jefferson both went close as Ilminster looked to make the game safe, but Staplegrove scored with the last kick of the match to make the score look more flattering for a side who were well beaten on the day.

Team - Chris May, Luke Paul, Karl Davis, Brad Pitman, Jon May, Doug Whitfield, Brad Miles, Tom Sullivan, Ben Pitman, Taylor Jefferson, Charlie Rutter. Subs (used) - Andre Anjos, Adam Male, Charlie Berrington.

Next week, it’s back to League action with an away game against Clevedon United, who currently sit in second place in the Somerset County Premier League table, with a 2.30pm kick-off.

Andrew Male and his Reserve team won 3-1 against Dunkeswell on Saturday with goals from Kenny Timpson, Kaymon Linsey and Wael Elkahl.

On Saturday, they are home at The Archie Gooch Pavilion against Awliscombe, with a 2.15pm kick-off.