Exmouth Town 1-0 Bridgwater United

A DEFENSIVE mistake 13 minutes from time gave Exmouth Town the goal they needed to maintain their challenge at the pointy end of the Premier Division on Saturday, writes Kerry Miller.

It was a cruel way to go down but in truth the home side had dominated the second half and but for some glaring misses and the woodwork in the way, could well have wrapped it up earlier. It also took a sterling defensive effort from the Robins who were under the cosh for long periods on a sunny day and in front of a crowd of 400 – a significant number of whom had made their way down from Bridgy.

George King was still unavailable alongside the list of long term injured but Dave Pearse’s squad still looked strong enough to put a dent in the home side’s title hopes and after Jordan Harris had put a first minute lob onto the roof of the net Jake Llewellyn set up Troy Simpson and his 25 yarder was just wide. As usual Morgan Williams was getting through plenty of work and his graft created the first corner which was cleared before Exmouth countered and Jake Viney’s heart must have been in his mouth when he appeared to slide out of the area and concede a free-kick for hand ball but referee Aiden Madden contented himself with a yellow card. Levi Landricombe was alongside Ace High and Harris in a potent forward line and the former curled a free-kick just wide before Tom Gardner volleyed over from the resulting corner.

Robins’ increasingly worrying disciplinary count took another pounding as Mike Duffy and Williams followed Viney either side of Troy Simpson being helped off with a hamstring injury as the problems increased. Viney did well to keep out a Harris snap shot just on the break and with Mousehole leading 2-0 at Wellington, there were some anxious home faces at the break.

On the resumption Ace High went close twice early before he headed a Ben Steer corner against the bar then defensive uncertainly let Steer in and he also crashed a close range shot against the woodwork. The Robins briefly escaped and in what was becoming a rare attack Duffy shot well over from 20 yards then Jack Taylor’s free-kick was off target around the hour mark. The burly Landricombe, who has had something of a nomadic couple of seasons then hammered a shot goalwards which Jordan Greenwood somehow got in the way of and the chances kept coming but United’s goal was leading a charmed life with Ace High setting up skipper Max Gillard who missed from four yards. Mark Armstrong made way for Harry Durant who lined up in a more forward role but within minutes Exmouth had struck when Landricombe took advantage of an error and won a foot race with Jake Lllewellyn to roll in what proved to be the winner.

United were not done and Jacob Spence found the top of the bar from a corner and Taylor had a shot blocked but the final moments saw he, and non-playing Tom Llewellyn make the yellow count rise to five after another confrontation which played into the home team’s hands and the points were theirs. A second half fightback by Wellington meant Mousehole dropped two points but Tavistock cruised to a win at Bitton and look favourites although they go to Exmouth on the 20th for what could be a decider.

Meanwhile, Bridgy look to next Friday where they again welcome Shepton Mallet for the final league game which kicks off at noon and the battle for a fourth place finish.