Toolstation Western League
Premier Division
Exmouth Town 0, Bridgwater Town 0

A SUPERB defensive display in front of an inspired Jake Viney earned Bridgwater Town a point away to title-chasing Exmouth Town on Saturday, watched by a crowd swelled by an impressive away following, writes Kerry Miller.

Robins co-managers Karl Baggaley and Dave Pearse were without Jake Brown - on paternal leave - and Mike Duffy, who has left the club again after one substitute appearance, to join Division 1 side Cheddar.

Exmouth are undefeated at Southern Road and have a strong squad themselves, including the experienced Ace High up front and fellow striker Jordan Harris, who is on 19 goals in 19 games so far this campaign.

The visitors began well, with Oscar Latas and Jake Llewellyn combining for Jack Taylor to bring a save out of home goalkeeper Harison Burton, but Exmouth soon showed why they are in the mix alongside Plymouth Parkway and Bradford Town, as Karl Rickards shot just wide before Viney saved well from Harris on 20 minutes.

High then found the post with a header as Bridgwater soaked up some pressure, but they should have gone behind just before the half-hour, when Harris was given too much room but Viney somehow denied him one-on-one.

The Robins’ keeper then brought off another stunning stop from Rickards’ deflected shot and Callum Shipton headed wide, while at the other end Taylor’s skill gave him room to hit a left-footed shot inches wide.

From a corner Tom Ellis had a header saved then Llewellyn was too high with a drive.

Bridgwater defenders Owen Irish and Ellis were immense, while Harry Horton was very busy alongside Mark Armstrong in midfield, as the Robins stood up well to the home side and went in goalless at half-time.

The away side started well after the break, with Llewellyn’s cross-field ball finding Latas, who hit a dipper from 30 yards just over, but Viney was again in action on the hour, saving low to his right from Denny.

Horton was possibly lucky to escape with just a caution for a lunge on Rickards which put him out of the game, saved maybe by the fact that the game was fierce but fair at that stage, but by then Taylor had become isolated up front and Exmouth looked the more likely to snatch a winner.

Viney somehow kept out an effort from Jamie Dirrane which heralded the start of a raft of changes as Sam Towler was replaced by Dave O’Hare and Noah Coppin came on for Finlay Wilkinson, with Llewellyn moving to full-back.

Dave Rowe’s header from a free-kick was again kept out by man of the match Viney and the last word almost went to Latas, but after Llewellyn’s free-kick was nodded down by Ellis, his effort went over.

Bridgwater Town: Jake Viney, Dave Thorne, Finley Wilkinson (Noah Coppin 77), Harry Horton, Owen Irish, Tom Ellis, Sam Towler (Dave O'Hare 68), Mark Armstrong (Ollie Morris 84), Jack Taylor, Oscar Latas. Subs not used: Luke Manley, Dave Pearse.

Attendance: 232

This Friday night Clevedon Town nip down the M5 for what should be another cracking derby at Fairfax Park (7.45pm).