Dartmouth ended Cullompton Rangers 12 game unbeaten run and pulled themselves 6 points clear at the top of the table tonight with a 4-1 victory at Speeds Meadow. The Darts win was more remarkable still as they played just over half the game with 10 men after Robbie Bowker was sent off just before the interval.
Chris Harrity fired the Darts into a 14th minute lead but after the sending off Cully were able to level on 59 minutes through Richard Asson. But despite their numerical handicap it was the visitors who claimed all 3 points after Richard Gomm restored the lead and both Chris Hooper and Mark Collins scored late on to seal the victory.
Dartmouth opened up a 3 point lead at the top of the table as they won on a day that their nearest challengers either lost or didn’t have a fixture. The Darts hosted Appledore and ran out 2-1 winners in a tight match that saw the visitors end the game with 9 men after both Ewan Butler and ‘keeper Nicky Spry were sent off. Mark Collins and a Simon Lewcock penalty did the damage for the Darts with Paul Parkin replying for the visitors.
With Ivybridge Town inactive both Elburton Villa and Newton Abbot missed golden opportunities as they both lost. Newton Abbots long unbeaten run ending in a major 0-1 shock defeat away at 19th placed Stoke Gabriel. Carl Dooley scored the all important goal. Elburton Villa lost 1-2 away at Newton Abbot Spurs where Gary Byrne scored twice for the home side, one a penalty, with Villa only having a Justin Crowley effort in reply.
Cullompton Rangers were the days biggest winners as they ran out 6-2 victors away at Vospers Oak Villa. Cully were 3-0 up and cruising before Gary Hunt was sent off for 2 yellow cards and Warren White scored twice for Villa to reduce the arrears to 2-3. Cully stepped up a gear despite being a man light and scored a further 3 goals. Simon Bochenski netted the days only hat-trick and their were further goals from Dan Boere, Jamie Cottrell and a Kenny Smith penalty.
Buckland Athletic had a good 3-1 away day win at Ottery St Mary where they shared the goals around as Matt Barkwell, Chris Bennett and Tom Sercombe all found the target with the Otters managing a solitary Miles Pegley reply. Plymstock United also won away as they came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Alphington. Harry Taylor had fired the Exeter side into an early lead but goals from Craig Errington and Kevin Bowden gave the U’s their first away win since September.
Crediton United made hard work of beating bottom of the table Teignmouth, eventually triumphing 2-1 at Lords Meadow with Danny Hall and debutant Shaun Hellier scoring. The Teigns had a Jason Rees own goal as a consolation. One game ended all square as Totnes & Dartington were held to a 2-2 draw by visiting Witheridge. Tom Comyn and Chris Fisher scored for the Foxhole club who ended the game with 10 men after Dave Heath was sent off and Witheridge earnt a useful point as they replied through both Steve Lethbridge and Sean Szabo.
Dartmouth returned to the top of the table after a great win and getting the rub of the green with other results from the chasing pack. The Darts won 2-1 away at reigning Champions Ivybridge town with both goals coming in the early minutes of each half. Chris Hooper scoring in the 3rd minute of the first period and Richard Hammett 2 minutes into the second half. Shaun Hulbert pulled a goal back for the Ivy’s who perhaps deserved more out of the game but the Darts defence held firm to claim the points. Over at Haye Road the other 2 clubs that make up the Top 4 met with Elburton Villa and Newton Abbot forcing a 0-0 stalemate. Both sides had a player sent off and Villa came closest to scoring when they had a Sam Davey penalty that was saved at the 2nd attempt at taking.
The South Devon Derby between Buckland Athletic and Newton Abbot Spurs was a feisty affair that ended with honours even after a 2-2 draw at Homers Heath. Nathan Dewdney and an OG were responsible for the Bucks goals whilst Spurs had taken the lead through Alex Blackburn and later levelled through Lee Breslan. Both sides ended with 10 men after Ben Williamson was sent off on his debut and Gary Byrne also had an early bath for the visitors.
Ottery St Mary had just 10 players at Holsworthy and that apparently included the club vice chairman who is 48 years old and rather unsurprisingly they lost 0-3 with the Magpies leaping over their guests into 8th spot thanks to a brace from Mark Bettis and one from Dean Chidley. Budleigh Salterton recorded a 4-1 win at home to Appledore with the leagues leading scorer, Danny Williams netted twice along with Gavin Ward and Matthew Byrne. The North Devon visitors replied through Danny Bell.
Stoke Gabriel ended a long run of defeats with a rare win and an even rarer clean sheet as they beat Vospers Oak Villa 1-0 at Broadley Lane with Lewis Robinson grabbing the all important goal. Witheridge ran up their highest winning margin since joining the league last summer as they beat bottom of the table Teignmouth 7-1. Both Jon Bradford and Richard Groom scored twice with further strikes from Anthony Vigus, Matt Snell and Shaun Szabo. The Teigns had a Kieran Joy consolation.
The games at Crediton United (V Cullompton), Totnes & Dartington (V Alphington) and the University of Exeter (V Plymstock United) were all postponed.
The wet weather caused more fixture chaos today as 7 out of their scheduled 8 matches were postponed. Games at Alphington, Appledore, Buckland Athletic, Cullompton Rangers, Holsworthy, Newton Abbot and the University of Exeter were all affected and will have to be re-staged later in the season.
One game to survive the weather was Ottery St Mary’s home game with bottom of the table Teignmouth. The visitors put up a good first half show and even took the lead through Craig Stonelake but the Otters ended a run of poor results of their own by scoring twice through both Miles Pegley and Mark Simic.
Axworthys Office Supplies Manager of the Month
The February winner of the Axworthys Office Supplies Manager of the Month is Chris Breslan of Newton Abbot Spurs AFC. The Recreation Ground club played 4 times during a month that most sides played only twice in and won three of those games with the other result being a 2-2 draw away at reigning Champions Ivybridge Town.
Newton Abbot Spurs climbed a place in the league table and into 6th spot after a professional performance away at Ottery St Mary saw them win 3-0. The Otters had no answer to Spurs counter-attacking that saw a Dan Spargo goal before half time and further strikes after the interval from both Kevin Gardner and Kevin Chapman. Whilst the Otters enjoyed plenty of possession they were never able to threaten a well marshalled Spurs defence and visiting keeper Ross Bellotti was rarely called into action.
Once again the leadership of the league table changed hands, this time it was Ivybridge Towns’ turn to climb back to the top of the table after a 3-1 win at home to Alphington. The Ivy’s had Jamie Middleton, Martin Mitchell and keeper’ Mike Roberts with a penalty on the score-sheet with Harry Taylor replying for the Alphas. The Ivy’s were able to claim pole position as the “Top of the Table clash” between Elburton Villa & Dartmouth was one of three games postponed, the others being Teignmouth V Holsworthy and the Friday nighter between Ottery St Mary and the University of Exeter. Newton Abbot also took advantage and closed the top 4 bunch up further by winning 3-1 away at Witheridge. Gary Rice from the penalty spot, Dave Clark and Dan Broadway getting the goals with Matt Snell replying for the home side.
Budleigh Salterton in 5th also gained a 3-1 away win, in their case courtesy of a derby at Crediton United which saw Joel Hawes, Jamie Densham and the leagues leading scorer Danny Williams all find the net. The Lords Meadow hosts had Danny Hall scoring in return. Cullompton Rangers in 6th spot also kept up the pressure with a 5-1 win away at Stoke Gabriel. This was revenge for a 0-5 reverse in the home fixture earlier in the season and came about with Cully having 5 different scorers – Simon Bochenski, Mark Pepperell, Andy Carnell, Tom Beddow and an own goal from Terry Mitchell. Stoke scored a consolation through Craig Fendall.
Newton Abbot Spurs climbed a place to 7th in the table after coming from behind to beat Plymstock United 3-1. Roger Bonaparte had given the U’s the lead but Lee Haywood, Kevion Chapman and former Plymstock striker Glenn Palmer turned it around for the Recreation Ground hosts. The U’s ended the game with 10 men after Craig Errington was sent off for 2 yellow cards. Vospers Oak Villa were the only other side to taste victory and that came over Buckland Athletic at The Mill care of a second half strike from Danny McTighe.
One game ended all square and that was Totnes & Dartington at home to Appledore which saw Owen Tomblain and Aaron Palfrey on target for the home side but cancelled out by Aaron Stevens and Spencer Dennis to give Appledore a share of the points from the 2-2 scoreline.