Toolstation Western League
Premier Division
Clevedon Town 2, Bridgwater Town 1

A HEADER from ex-Bridgwater Town player Syd Camper consigned the Robins to a second straight defeat over the festive period, as Clevedon Town took all three points on Saturday, writes Kerry Miller.

Having lost 4-2 at home to Street on Boxing Day, Bridgwater co-managers Karl Baggaley and Dave Pearse rang the changes, giving full debuts to Bridgwater & Taunton College prospects Noah Coppin and Luke Manley, with Sam Towler, Dave O’Hare and Jake Brown on the bench and Steve Murray unavailable.

Mike Duffy was also among the substitutes, only a month after leaving for Somerset County League side Middlezoy Rovers.

The home side should have gone ahead early on, when Archie Ferris twice saw efforts somehow kept out by keeper Jake Viney in an almighty melee, before the speedy Zach Drew was given too much space but missed as Town rode their early luck.

They slowly got a toehold in the game, and on 20 minutes a huge Tom Ellis throw was partially cleared and the lurking Jake Llewellyn smashed home an unstoppable volley from 18 yards to open the scoring against his former side.

Clevedon’s lively young forward line were always dangerous, though, as Drew again went close with a lob and Camper’s drive went wide.

Robins frontman Jack Taylor had an effort saved on the half-hour, but a leveller was coming and minutes before the break Sam Iles hit a long raking cross from near the touchline for Elliot Nicholson to glance home a header from close range.

After the break, Taylor escaped to test Mike Dangerfield before Nicholson brought a fine save from Viney at the other end on the hour.

What was a fast but even tempered game briefly threatened to heat up when Mark Armstrong was booked for a mistimed tackle on Drew, but it was Clevedon who had the momentum, and a cross from the left found Camper’s head and he made no mistake against his former club from eight yards out.

Llewellyn’s free-kick almost led to Ross McErlain equalising with a header but Clevedon were looking for more, and Drew was inches over before Camper’s lob from the halfway line was only just clawed away by the back-pedalling Viney.

Coppin escaped and attempted to round Dangerfield but was denied, and then had a header saved, but after Drew had a strong shout for a penalty the home side held out comfortably to collect the three points.

Bridgwater Town: Jake Viney, Luke Manley, Finley Wilkinson, Mark Armstrong, Ross McErlain, Tom Ellis, Nathan Byrne (Jake Brown 71), Ollie Morris (Dave O'Hare 88), Jack Taylor, Noah Coppin, Jake Llewellyn. Subs not used: Sean Thomson, Sam Towler, Mike Duffy.

Bridgwater have dropped to ninth in the Premier Division table - six points off fourth-placed Exmouth Town, who have played three fewer games than the Robins and look set for a promotion tussle with Bradford Town and Plymouth Parkway.

Next up for the Robins is a home match with 19th-placed Bridport, next Saturday (3pm).