Ilfracombe Town 0-1 Bridgwater United

A GRITTY display on a firm pitch with a blustery wind gave the Robins three more points and ensured a happy journey back from North Devon on Saturday but they were made to work hard for the victory, writes Kerry Miller.

The Bluebirds have so far enjoyed a good campaign while down the road things have been very different at neighbours Bideford and Barnstaple Town, and they are eyeing a top six finish and it showed as United were forced onto the back foot through good portions of the game.

Credit must go to Dave Pearse’s squad, which despite losing almost its entire defensive line to injury, has now kept a clean sheet in seven out of the last eight league games since the debacle at Mousehole.

Harry Durant, Cam Gauci and Merson Ham were all given starts with Acey Mead and Alex Parsons from the U18s on the bench and after a quiet beginning Ross Edwards had the first effort on goal, but his header was comfortably saved by former Robin Steve Oliver in the home goal.

Liam Short volleyed over just before the break but with conditions not favouring a fast passing game chances were few and it was not surprising that the teams went in scoreless.

Bridgy began strongly after the break and within five minutes had taken the lead. George King slung over a corner and with Oliver under pressure from young Ham, Edwards powered home a trademark header from eight yards.

Town were not going to lie down as they hunted a league double and Short should have done better when he finished a swift counterattack by skying a shot from a good position. Ollie Stevens saw a snapshot deflected wide then Jack Langford twice volleyed over as an equaliser began to look more than likely midway through the second half.

United’s back four of Jake Llewellyn, the returning Jacob Spence, Edwards, and Durant all had fine games while Mark Armstrong and the front five toiled well despite few chances being created.

Taylor had a free kick saved by Oliver late on, but the points went to Somerset after what was a match played in a good spirit.

Ilfracombe have the small matter of their storm destroyed clubhouse to contend with in the coming months while Pearse has a juicy cup and league double against Shepton Mallet and league games against Keynsham on Saturday, and championship chasing Exmouth Town on the last day still to negotiate.