REPORTS ( Last Updated on 22/07/14 )
Saturday 5th May 2012
NAILSEA UNITED (1) 2 MINEHEAD (2) 2
The early exchanges saw Minehead taking most of the initiative and Luke Freeman saw a lot of the ball on the right flank, causing the home side problems with his pace down the slope. With Minehead doing a surprising amount of the attacking it was no real shock when they took the lead after 19 minutes with Stefan Phillips slotted the perfect pass through the home defence for his brother Martyn to run onto and confidently stroke past the home keeper.
The lead was doubled two minutes later when again the
same pair combined perfectly and a carbon copy finish saw Martyn Phillips score
his sixth goal in three starts for the blues.
Phillips’ two goals however shocked the home side into
action and in response James Lee, a prolific scorer with over 40 goals to his
name this season, saw his shot on the turn blocked for a corner. From the next corner Stuart Lee scored with a
header at the far post, after the Minehead defence had failed to clear the
Phillips’ two goals however shocked the home side into
action and in response James Lee, a prolific scorer with over 40 goals to his
name this season, saw his shot on the turn blocked for a corner. From the next corner Stuart Lee scored with a
header at the far post, after the Minehead defence had failed to clear the
In the final minute of the first half James Lee, who had
appeared to block Chris Yeates’ attempted jump for the ball, was guilty of
missing the goal with the headed chance that his bustling had created.
With the home side understandably coming out with all
guns blazing for the second half, it took them just 8 minutes to get on level
terms, when an unfortunate stumble by centre half Paul Smyth allowed James Lee
to run through un-challenged and he competently beat Sam Tarr from 12 yards
out. Ten minutes later the same player should have put the home side ahead but
his shot came back off the foot of the post.
A slick interchanging move in Minehead’s midfield
featuring Mike Mullen and Martyn Phillips resulted in Luke Freeman bursting
through the home defence, but his shot was not good enough to beat the
advancing keeper, and after both sides had made two substitutions Minehead
continued to press for a winner and Stefan Phillips saw his shot from the edge
of the box curl just too high.
With three minutes remaining the home side thought they
had claimed all three points when the ball was bundled into the net at the far
post, but the referee had noticed an infringement on the goalkeeper and awarded
the blues a free kick on the six yard line, then a perfect tackle from Paul
Smyth robbed James Lee as he poised to shoot.
After the final whistle it became apparent that other sides
challenging for the title had been beaten and Nailsea’s point was enough for
them to be crowned champions with one match left to play. As with Minehead’s final game of the season
in 2011, they had been the champions’ opponents on the day the league was won.
Minehead: S Tarr, C Newbold, M Graddon, M Mullen, P Smyth, C Yeates, S Phillips, L Bloys, R Addicott, M Phillips, L Freeman.Subs: J Groves-Furse (76,8), M Williams (76,11)
Saturday 28th April 2012
NAILSEA TOWN (3) 3 MINEHEAD (0) 2
Minehead’s penultimate match of the season saw them go three goals behind during a first half which they seemed to be dominating, then despite a second half come back which saw two goals from Martyn Phillips, they failed to claim even a share of the points. The win meant the home side leap-frogged Minehead, with the blues now destined to finish in the bottom half of the table.
Though all the early play seemed strongly in Minehead’s favour, the home side took the lead after four minutes when after two strong appeals for free kicks had fallen on the deaf ears, the referee then gave in to the next appeals which saw a penalty kick awarded for a challenge made by Mike Mullen on the edge of the box. Mike Purnell slotted the spot kick past Chris Meredith and the blues had yet again fallen behind to an early goal.
The play remained all Minehead and Stefan Phillips, Chris Newbold and Guy Burns all went close following good moves which the home side appeared to have no answer to. Then on 21 minutes, on the home side’s second visit to the Minehead penalty area, the deficit became two goals when Paul Wright shot home a loose ball.
After more evenly contested play for the first quarter of
an hour of the second half, Minehead again seemed to take control and after
Luke Bloys had been cautioned by the referee for
repeated infringements, Martyn Phillips showed the
home defence a clean pair of heels and beat the impressive Kevin Freeman in the
home goal from 12 yards out to give Minehead a glimmer of hope.
A double substitution saw Luke Freeman and Mark Williams
replace Luke Bloys and Mike Graddon and with the pace
of Freeman and Phillips causing big problems to the home defence Minehead went
for broke. The second goal came with
just five minutes remaining when again the speed of Martyn Phillips took him past the home defence and he coolly slotted home to bring the
deficit back to just one goal.
Despite numerous attacks the blues could not muster any
more goals and they ended up losing another game that they will feel they
should have won comfortably.
Meredith, C Newbold, M Graddon, M Mullen, P Smyth, C Yeates,
S Phillips, L Bloys, R Addicott,
M Phillips, G Burns.Subs: M Williams (75,3), L Freeman (75,8), R Hopkins (Not Used)
Minehead’s final game of the season is on Saturday at title favourites Nailsea United, who beat Minehead by an 8-4 scoreline in a bizarre but entertaining floodlit match at The Recreation Ground back in November.
Saturday 21st April 2012
BERROW (0) 1 MINEHEAD (1) 1
Minehead’s first ever visit to Berrow brought another share of the spoils after Minehead had principally controlled the first half but saw the visitors come back strongly in the second half to deservedly level the scores.
The first half of this game had some resemblance to the first half seen at The Rec, when Minehead controlled the play, scoring once but not capitalising on their opportunities. In blustery conditions on a pitch open to the elements but with a perfect playing surface, Minehead took the game to their hosts and with the wind at their backs had some success.
Paul Smyth’s early header was cleared off the goal line but with less than 20 minutes on the board a slick move saw Guy Burns collect a pass from deep inside the centre circle and having fed Jack Page on the left flank a clever interchange between the striker and marauding central defender Mike Mullen saw the latter burst past the final defender. Cutting back inside Mullen swept an inch perfect cross to the far post where Rob Gurnett scored with a fine header back across the goal which beat home keeper Chris Warner and nestled in the far corner of the net. Minutes later Jack Page showed excellent ball control and having swivelled past his marker again he made a direct run towards goal and from just outside the box unleashed a fierce shot which just cleared the crossbar with the keeper seemingly beaten.
The second half saw the blustery conditions deteriorate and Minehead found it all but impossible to play their passing game against the strong wind, however Berrow seemed at home in the conditions and for most of the second half Minehead were on the back foot.
James Gass saw a 30 yard right footed effort pushed around the post by Chris Meredith and from the corner a powerful header from Craig Hirons went inches over the bar.
With 15 minutes remaining a swirling cross from the left saw an under pressure Paul Smyth attempted clearance glance off the top of his head and over the advancing and helpless keeper Meredith. Guy Burns then kept the scores level with an important goal line clearance but Minehead rode their luck and the final whistle came with the score still at 1-1.
Minehead: C Meredith, S Hall, M Graddon, M Mullen, P Smyth, J Groves-Furse, S Phillips, R Gurnett, R Addicott, J Page, G Burns.
Minehead’s penultimate game of the season in on Saturday at Nailsea Town, who the blues beat at The Recreation Ground earlier in the year by two goals to nil.
Saturday 18th April 2012
MINEHEAD (1) 2 CLEVEDON UNITED (2) 2
Conceding two early goals last Wednesday evening made it hard work for Minehead to pull themselves back into the match, but for the second home match running Lynton top scorer Martyn Phillips helped the blues recover and pick up a home point.
Two minutes into the game a mix up between goalkeeper and defender allowed Michael Banks to score and six minutes later Joseph Govan doubled the away score when another opportunity was presented by a hesitant defence.
After Chris Meredith had saved another attempt from Clevedon, this time from Sam Brown, Minehead’s Rob Gurnett headed the home sides’ first opportunity wide of the goal fame. However the make shift striker made amends 21 minutes into the match when he competently flicked the ball home from six yards after experienced keeper Mark Selway made an uncharacteristic mistake at the near post.
With the game showing signs of two teams with little to play for at the end of a season, neither side took the initiative during the remainder of the first half, but Minehead lost striker Chris Yeates through injury two minutes before the break, with Martyn Phillips being the replacement.
Few real goalscoring opportunities arose during an even and uninspiring second half but as the half grew in age Minehead became stronger and sensed at least a share of the points. After a Rob Gurnett shot had brought a competent save out of Selway it was Martyn Phillips who levelled the scores with 6 minutes remaining when his reactionary header from close range after a corner had not been effectively cleared, went in off the crossbar.
There was still time for the visitors to reclaim all three points from a corner kick but Govan saw his late effort come back off the foot of the post and cleared.
Saturday 14th April 2012
GLASTONBURY (1) 1 MINEHEAD (2) 4
Minehead travelled to basement club Glastonbury on Saturday with manager Robbie Hopkins as the only substitute, but despite going a goal down after 21 minutes, managed to turn things around and finish comfortable 4-1 winners thus claiming another league double.
Minehead started brightly enough, with Guy Burns adding balance and flair to the attack during his first start for several months due to injury, and it was Burns who had the first attempt at goal after eight minutes when he latched onto a Jack Groves-Furse slide rule pass but saw his shot saved by Adam Clark in the home goal.
Against the run of play Glastonbury took the lead when a long throw from centre forward Alex Priddice caused indecision in the blues defence and the loose ball was promptly prodded home by the alert James Travella.
The blues were back on terms within two minutes when after a deep cross had been just too high for the onrushing Stefan Phillips, the midfielder recovered the ball near the touchline and sent in a perfect cross to the far post where Chris Yeates out-jumped his marker and headed past Clark into the top corner. Clarke then showed good reactions to push a shot from Groves-Furse which had been deflected by a lunging defender onto the crossbar, then a few minutes later he held onto a 30 yard effort from Burns who had jinked past two defenders to create an opening. Just before half time a partial clearance from a corner fell nicely for Jack Groves-Furse who blasted a volley into the corner of the net to put Minehead in front at half time.
The second half started with a strong penalty appeal from Groves-Furse being dismissed by the referee, and after Stefan Phillips had been booked for an over-zealous tackle, Guy Burns’ shot came back off the foot of the post. After a good run and cross from centre half Paul Smyth, Stefan Phillips uncharacteristically shot straight at the keeper who saved well. Minutes later a free kick from Phillips went over the bar, but finally ten minutes from time the Minehead playmaker got the angles completely right, scoring a trademark free kick from 22 yards out, giving Clark no chance.
Minehead had time for one more goal five minutes later when Jack Groves-Furse capped a spasmodic personal performance during which he had displayed exceptional and also poor control, when he beat three players in a strong run through the heart of the home midfield and unselfishly passed to Luke Bloys who completed the scoring with a left foot drive which like all Minehead’s goals found it’s way right into the corner of the net.
Minehead: S Tarr, C Newbold, M Graddon, R Gurnett, P Smyth, J Groves-Furse, S Phillips, G Burns, R Addicott, C Yeates, L Bloys.
Having completed their home matches when they met Clevedon United on Wednesday evening (18th), Minehead travel to high flying Berrow on Saturday, before away games against Nailsea Town and finally the likely champions Nailsea United on consecutive Saturdays to finish the 2011-12 campaign.
Wednesday 11th April 2012
MINEHEAD (0) 2 SHIREHAMPTON (2) 2
A rousing second half come back saw Minehead claim a useful point after being two goals down against last season’s champions Shirehampton.
However things didn’t look good for the blues in the first half when after just two minutes Shirehampton’s veteran striker Martin Cook lobbed reserve team keeper Sam Tarr to put the visitors ahead. Having composed themselves after this early setback, Minehead managed to create chances, and though they remained a goal down the home side contributed well to an open and even first half and the large crowd witnessed some good, end to end play.
After a dangerous cross from Stefan Phillips was well collected by the visitors’ keeper, the next attack saw Jack Page’s attempt well saved by the busy custodian, but a Paul Smyth free kick went uncharacteristically high and wide. Ben Flatley’s header was cleared off the line and in a responsive attack from Shirehampton Scott Bamford’s shot was well saved by Sam Tarr.
Ten minutes from the break the visitors doubled their lead when Matty McCall netted after Sam Tarr had parried Max Weston’s initial shot. The half ended with a wayward shot from striker Martyn Phillips, who has enjoyed a prolific season with his home town side Lynton, sailed high over the bar.
For the second half Michael Graddon replaced the struggling Jack Page, but as in the first half it was Shire’s Martin Cook who had the first attempt, on this occasion shooting wide.
Minehead comeback commenced when a cross from Rob Gurnett was only partially cleared, and the ball fell to Martyn Phillips who had quick enough reactions to control the ball and hook it home, reducing the deficit to just one goal. The visitors’ top scorer Scott Bamford and Minehead’s Jack Groves-Furse were then both yellow carded by the referee after tempers had flared but Minehead continued to attack positively and just past the hour mark Stefan Phillips, elder brother of Martyn, raced between two defenders and expertly lobbed the ball over the head of the advancing keeper to level the scores.
It was now the turn of the visitors to respond positively as they went in search of a winning goal, and after Rich Hewitt had headed wide of an open goal, Scott Bamford shot over the bar when well placed. The same player then saw Minehead keeper Sam Tarr deny him with a brilliant save.
The game ended with an even scoreline, after Martyn Phillips had appeared to have scored the winning goal, but though from the top line and grandstand view the ball appeared to have nestled in the corner of the net, the strikers’ lob had in fact gone wide of the goal and the ball had rolled around the rear of the net before stopping.
Minehead: S Tarr, R Gurnett, B Flatley, M Mullen, P Smyth, J Groves-Furse, S Phillips, J Page, R Addicott, M Phillips, L Bloys.
Saturday 7th April 2012
WATCHET TOWN (1) 2 MINEHEAD (0) 0
This Easter local derby between West Somerset’s two premier sides at Watchet’s Memorial Ground, witnessed by an estimated 275 spectators, started explosively with Watchet taking the game to their visitors from the start. After just three minutes hesitation in the Minehead defence from a corner, allowed Eben Harding to prod home to open the scoring from six yards out, giving Nathan Sheehan little chance.
With their tails up the home side continued to attack and three minutes later Minehead defender Mike Mullen’s clumsy challenge on his former team-mate Tom Sparks, resulted in a penalty kick being awarded. Sparks took the spot kick himself, but saw Sheehan parry the ball and it was cleared to safety.
The game then seemed to settle down into the seemingly normal hustle and bustle with several strong tackles taking preference to any particularly creative football. Though throughout the match both sides had players’ names taken by the referee, no incident seemed close to boiling over.
With a good tussle shaping between Tom Sparks and Mike Mullen it was Sparks who pounced on a loose ball in the middle of the pitch and having cleverly outwitted a defender decided to shoot from outside of the penalty area only for his shot to go high over the bar. A good run from from Luke Freeman ended with a volleyed cross going begging. With Watchet looking more dangerous than their visitors throughout the majority of the first half, Minehead’s Freeman, struggling with a groin injury, was replaced by Jack Groves-Furse and towards the end of the half Minehead started playing more constructive football.
The second half saw started with Jack Page showing the Watchet defence a clean pair of heels but his cross was too high for the in rushing Chris Yeates. Yeates was able to retrieve the ball however and his own cross was met by Mike Mullen but the header was straight at keeper Adam Bishop. In the next attack, another cross from Page nearly caught Bishop unawares, the normally competent keeper fumbling the ball against the woodwork. It was then Watchet’s turn to put in a meaningful attack, and after a good run Sparks saw his shot from the edge of the box deflected over the bar for a corner.
With Minehead now doing more of the attacking, after a Paul Smyth free kick had come back off the wall, another free kick in a dangerous position saw Stefan Phillips’ shot beat the wall but saved by Adam Bishop. From a corner floated behind the pack of players attacking the box, a high acrobatic overhead kick from Mullen beat the home keeper but hit a defender on the goal line. Minutes later a Watchet attack ended in the same fate when Luke Bloys managed to block Tom Sparks’ goalbound shot at the foot of the post.
In the final minutes Minehead pushed defender Lee Todd into the attack in search of the equaliser, but Tom Sparks provided the sting in the tail with a well taken goal after a breakaway three minutes from the end.
Minehead: N Sheehan, C Newbold, L Todd, M Mullen, P Smyth, W Pooley, S Phillips, M Graddon, J Page, C Yeates, L Freeman
Wednesday 4th April 2012
MINEHEAD (1) 3 GLASTONBURY TOWN (0) 2
Minehead gained three more points on Wednesday evening with a hard earned 3-2 victory over basement club Glastonbury Town, who when judged on this performance look far from a bottom of the table side.
Though goalkeeper Nathan Sheehan had to be alert in the Minehead goal to deal with a shot from Thomas Morgan, the first half was fairly well bossed by the home side, with the return of 18 year old Jack Page for his first start for the blues since January, adding spark to their front line. It was his quick feet and ability to go past people which immediately caught the eye, as Minehead took the game to their former Western League opponents.
It was Page who had the first real attempt on goal, after a slide rule pass had put him through but with just the keeper to beat his shot was comfortably saved by the advancing custodian. Five minutes later another flowing move released Chris Yeates in space and having run beaten a defender the striker saw his shot go inches wide with the keeper beaten.
With Minehead looking for the opening goal which might open the likely floodgates, it was the impressive Page who provided the break-through, again running through onto a perfect pass from midfield and this time slotting comfortably past the keeper to record his sixth goal of the season. The envisaged onslaught failed to materialise and it was in fact Glastonbury who almost stole a goal at the end of the first half when James Travellan beat Sheehan to the ball but the keeper had done enough to avert the danger.
After Ross Addicott was booked for an innocuous trip, Glastonbury who in fairness had put up a plucky yet disjointed first half performance, scored an unscripted equaliser when a free kick into the penalty box appeared to be far too close to Sheehan but with the gusty wind taking the back towards the pack of players waiting for the cross the ball fell sweetly to substitute James Travellan who side-footed home from ten yards to equal the scores.
Minehead responded swiftly and another wind affected free kick, this time curled into the box by Mike Mullen, with the ball seemingly going wide for a goal kick again the wind appeared to severely change the flight of the ball and the alert Chris Yeates managed to get the faintest of touches with his head to divert the ball into the net with the goalkeeper unable to react.
Straight after this a fine move between Page and Yeates resulted in the County U18 player sending a powerful shot fizzing just over the bar. However, after two substitutions saw Jack Groves-Furse and Luke Freeman replace Ross Addicott and Sam Hall, it was Glastonbury who bagged the next goal, Rhys Wilson levelling the scores with 20 minutes remaining.
After two fine full length saves by Nathan Sheehan had kept the home side on level terms, it was substitute Jack Groves-Furse who scored the final goal of the game, when after a pass was released to him he made space for himself and unleashed a shot from 25 yards that was worthy of winning many games, which found it’s way into the top corner with the Glastonbury keeper having little chance of getting close to the ball.
This time Minehead managed to preserve their lead until the final whistle, but Glastonbury should be applauded for the way the approached the game, having lost their last twelve matches. Based on this performance Minehead will need to play well to beat Glastonbury in the return match next Saturday. But before that there is the small matter of a match at neighbours Watchet Town tomorrow.
Minehead: N Sheehan, C Newbold, R Gurnett, M Mullen, P Smyth, R Addicott, S Hall, W Pooley, J Page, C Yeates, M Graddon
Saturday 31st March 2012
ODD DOWN RESERVES (0) 2 MINEHEAD (3) 4
Having stuttered badly in their last 110 minutes of football, and again with a large amount of key players not available, the omens did not look good for Minehead’s depleted side at struggling Odd Down Reserves on Saturday. Teenager Mike Graddon retained his place, Sam Hall and Alex Pope made their first starts for the first team and with Rob Gurnett and Ben Flatley fortunately being home from university, the blues were able to start with 11 players.
However any potential anxieties were kept well hidden as after the hosts had headed just wide from a corner in the first minute, the blues took the game to Odd Down and within the next 8 minutes the game was effectively won.
First with an attempt on goal was Chris Yeates, whose shot from distance went narrowly over, then with the next attack Yeates’ presence caused home keeper Duncan Fear to twice loose his grasp of the ball and it fell kindly for Michael Graddon to coolly slot home his first goal for the club in the 4th minute. Three minutes later a fine individual goal from Yeates doubled the lead – the striker firstly beat an opponent to the ball then having wriggled past a defender he beat two more within a confined space using imagination and immense control with two 180° drag-back spins. This presented him with a one on one with the keeper and he chose to shoot from 15 yards and found the corner of the net giving Duncan Fear no chance. Within another minute all three points were virtually wrapped up when another youngster Sam Hall thumped a loose ball home from six yards out, for his first Minehead senior XI goal.
These early goals put Minehead’s makeshift side in complete control, and more goals seemed likely as the blues not only looked to secure another league double but also to improve their negative goal difference, however the closest they came during the remainder of the first half was a Ben Flatley free kick from 30 yards out which went inches over.
The second half saw Minehead noticeably take their foot of the gas but still remain largely in control of the points. A strong run by Chris Yeates saw him release Mikey Graddon into a goalscoring opportunity but a dubious offside decision thwarted the raid. Alex Pope then ran through the heart of the defence but his shot was straight at Fear. Ben Flatley’s pass found Sam Hall in a good position but the youngster balooned his effort over the crossbar.
The home side then pulled a goal back when their most noticeable player, centre forward Ash Scott, who in general was kept quiet by Minehead’s captain Lee Todd and his fellow central defender Mike Mullen, poked the ball home after a melee.
Minehead were soon three goals in front again when Ben Flatley’s sidefooted shot was adjudged to have crossed the line after smashing against the crossbar, but with 15 minutes remaining Rob Gurnett put through his own goal when attempting to control an innocuous looking cross.
The home side came to life for the final 15 minutes, but the visitors comfortably held on to win all three points.
Saturday 24th March 2012
CLEVEDON UNITED (1) 2 MINEHEAD (0) 0
A depleted Minehead team travelled to Clevedon United on Saturday and were beaten 2-0 by a side who had not won in the league since 16th September and having plummeted down the league badly before the kick off were in a relegation position.
With 9 players unavailable for various reasons, four reserve team regulars were brought into the squad, but despite being weakened Minehead will still feel they could have taken far more from the game, having turned in an ordinary performance.
Paul Smyth went close to equalising with a header from Stefan Phillips’ free kick, but in general Clevedon were worthy of their one goal lead and remained in some sort of control of the game.
Minehead did start to find their feet towards the end of the first half and should undoubtedly have equalised when a fine cross from Mike Graddon was missed by Chris Newbold at the far post with the goal at his mercy. Two minutes later Paul Smyth’s cross was volleyed goalwards by Chris Yeates, but the experienced home keeper Mark Selway managed to parry the attempt against the post from where it was cleared to safety.
Early in the second half Minehead’s playmaker Stefan Phillips was taken to hospital having split the stitches in his back after an operation earlier in the week, and shortly afterwards Michael Banks made it two nil after good work from the veteran Tony Cook.
A fierce Chris Yeates shot was well saved by home keeper Selway, and after injuries to Jack Groves-Furse and Luke Bloys had meant the introduction of substitutes Mark Williams and manager Robbie Hopkins, Minehead had opportunities to get back into the game but failed to make them count.
The most promising aspect to come out of the game was the performance of teenager Michael Graddon, whose family have been synonymous with football in Minehead over the passed 50 years, who enjoyed a good game on the left hand side of midfield and shows good signs for the future.
Minehead now face a trip to the outskirts of Bath to meet Odd Down Reserves who currently occupt a relegation position. The blues made the same journey earlier in March for an evening fixture, only to have the match postponed 15 minutes before kick off due to fog. The management team of Robbie Hopkins and Paul Newbold should have a larger number of players to select their team from than was experienced at Clevedon.
Minehead Reserves also face an away fixture, against Redgate who they beat 2-0 at The Rec a fortnight ago.
Wednesday 21st March 2012
MINEHEAD (1) 1 BERROW (0) 4
Minehead hosted fifth placed Berrow, who started the season in top form leading the table for several weeks having been promoted from the First Division last season. With manager Robbie Hopkins having close to a full squad to pick from, Minehead managed to put together one of their best performances for the first hour of the match, but wilted inexplicably once the visitors were gifted two goals and ended up losing a match that they should have put to bed by half time, by a 4-1 scoreline which few supporters leaving the ground at the final whistle could comprehend.
Minehead started the game looking by far the better side and twice in the first few minutes Matt Cracknell made incisive runs on the left flank going past defenders at will, and this seemed to set the tone for an entertaining first half from the home side. After 14 minutes, with Minehead applying virtually all the pressure, Paul Smyth expertly opened the scoring with a trademark free kick from 25 yards which the visiting goalkeeper could only watch fly past him into the top corner. Five minutes later with Minehead rampant, Luke Bloys was unlucky to see his shot saved by the keeper and with the game staying a particularly one sided affair another Paul Smyth free kick was this time well saved by the overworked keeper.
Six minutes before the interval Chris Yeates was well placed to increase the lead but his shot hit the outside of the goalpost and went wide for a goal kick. Just before half time Berrow had their first attempt on goal – a hopeful long shot from Craig Hirons which went straight at Chris Meredith who saved comfortably.
After the break Minehead remained in control, though Jeff Read went close to equalising, heading just wide of an upright. Another Minehead attack saw a shot from Matt Cracknell deflected away for a corner kick.
At the turn of the hour the visiting keeper, who had been hobbling badly for a few minutes, was substituted, with diminutive midfield player Shaun Lismore taking over in goal. This should have signalled for Minehead to pepper the goal with shots, but within a few minutes the visitors had been gifted a bizarre equaliser after a shot which was going well wide hit a striker on the top of the head looping down onto the top of the crossbar. Keeper Chris Meredith attempted to push the ball back over the crossbar to the safety of a corner but merely pushed the ball back up in the air and a robust challenge on the keeper by an onrushing striker meant the ball then fell kindly to Jeff Read who scored the equaliser.
After this the game became far more even, though Minehead presented their visitors with another goal twelve minutes from time when Lloyd Dean ran onto a sliced Paul Smyth clearance to give his side a lead that was unimaginable at half time. Two minutes later a fine shot from Simon Baunton made it 3-1 with the visitors sensing victory.
Minehead then made three substitutions in an attempt to get back in the game with Ross Addicott, Brian Hall and Mike Graddon replacing Luke Bloys and Jack Groves-Furse and the move almost paid off instantly with all three being involved in a move which ended with Mike Graddon’s powerful shot from just inside the box flying just wide of the goal-frame with keeper well beaten.
To rub salt into Minehead’s wounds, the visitors scored another goal in the final minute, when Luke McErlain slammed the ball home from twelve yards out after it had fallen kindly for him.
Minehead, having failed to take their chances during the first half when they had at times outplayed their opponents, paid the penalty for some sloppy defending and could then find no way back into the match which they could and should have won comfortably.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, L Todd (c), P Smyth, M Mullen, J Groves-Furse, S Phillips, W Pooley, L Bloys, C Yeates, M Cracknell,
Saturday 17th March 2012
MINEHEAD (1) 1 BISHOPS LYDEARD (1) 1
Minehead were held at home on Saturday by their fellow mid-table opponents Bishops Lydeard, with a 1-1 scoreline being seen by the majority of those who witnessed the match as a fair result.
An early set back for the blues was a groin strain to striker Luke Freeman after just nine minutes, which meant he took no further part in the match being replaced by substitute Brian Hall.
Jack Adams appeared to be making the most influence on the early exchanges in the visitors’ midfield, and it was him who shot narrowly over the crossbar for the first attempt on goal. After 18 minutes Lydeard took the lead when Jamie Langdon was quickest to react to a free kick by Scott Drayton, heading through a static defence to beat Chris Meredith after 18 minutes.
On the half hour a long shot from Luke Bloys was too close to the keeper Nathan Whatley who made a comfortable save, and then his opposite number Chris Meredith was called upon to show his ability, holding onto a free kick.
After midfielder Jack Groves-Furse had made space for himself by jinking past an opponent, his perfect centre was flicked past the advancing keeper by Chris Yeates to level the scores.
Lydeard’s top scorer Alexis Piper, who has scored goals consistently whilst experiencing Southern League football in earlier spells in his career, then shot wide, as did his team-mate David Richardson, then another Chris Yeates header was not good enough to beat Nathan Whatley.
Having been marginally second best in the first half the blues took the game to Lydeard during the second period, and soon after the break Whatley had to deal with a long shot from Stefan Phillips. In response Luke Desave shot narrowly wide from an acute angle. With both teams using substitutes Matt Cracknell came on for Brian Hall and with Minehead looking for the winner a Luke Bloys shot was again on target but again Whatley kept his side on level terms. Matt Cracknell was then cautioned by the referee for a comment aimed at the assistant provided by the visitors and Minehead made their third substitution with 20 minutes remaining when striker Ross Addicott replaced Jack Groves-Furse.
In the dying minutes Minehead captain Lee Todd was booked, and Alexis Piper’s free kick beat the wall but was again competently held by Chris Meredith. Then in a frenetic final push Chris Yeates thought he had won the game but his fierce shot on the turn from 12 yards struck the crossbar and in the last attack of the game Stefan Phillips shot wide.
Minehead Reserves, who were without a match last weekend are also on their travels with a trip to Bishops Lydeard Colts.
Saturday 10th March 2012
CUTTERS FRIDAY (0) 1 MINEHEAD (0) 2
In form Minehead turned in one of their best performances of the season to turn the tables on highly placed opposition Cutters Friday last Saturday when they came back from being a goal down to win by the odd goal in three.
Having been heavily beaten 6-1 and 6-0 on their previous visits, Minehead started in a jittery fashion and for the first ten minutes struggled to come to terms with the bumpy pitch and the competitiveness their Bristol opponents bring to every game.
This seemed to snap Minehead into life and Luke Freeman was the first to show the home defence a clean pair of heels having been released by a perfect ball from deep by Chris Newbold. The pacy wingers’ cross was parried by keeper Stuart Jenkins into the path of Jack Groves-Furse whose snap shot came back off the crossbar with Jenkins well beaten. Within seconds another attack saw Freeman again romp past his full back and a perfect cross found Ross Addicott on the edge of the six yard box but his header came back off the underside of the crossbar and was ushered out to safety.
A perfect through ball from Stefan Phillips put Luke Bloys through on goal, but his shot was saved by Jenkins, and moments later after good pressure on the ball from the Minehead midfield, Jenkins was again called into action to keep the blues at bay.
Five minutes before the break, Stefan Phillips thought he had done enough to open the scoring but a fine save from Jenkins saw the ball tipped past the post for a corner.
The second half opened with Luke Bloys creating an opening for himself with some intricate skill on the edge of the box, but his right footed shot was saved by Jenkins. In response the home side then came back into the game for a period and Flicker beat several Minehead players on a mazy run but his shot was well over the bar. But Minehead were letting the home side back into the game and they paid the penalty of not scoring during their commanding spell in the first half when Daniel Spill’s perfectly placed shot from outside of the box beat the unsighted Chris Meredith to open the scoring.
Minehead rallied hard and within five minutes were back on terms when a perfect cross from Chris Newbold was volleyed home by the lethal Luke Bloys, to record his third goal in as many games. The blues continued to take the game to the home side, and after Jack Groves-Furse had outsmarted two defenders he released Wes Pooley whose curling shot from the edge of the box went just the wrong side of the post. With the game now swinging from end to end Chris Meredith was called upon to push a goal-bound free kick from Leon Britton round the post.
After Brian Hall had replaced Ross Addicott for the final quarter of an hour, a characteristic run from Luke Freeman saw him cut in from the bye line and having evaded tackles from a number of defenders his angled shot beat the keeper but went the wrong side of the far post. However Minehead were not to be denied the winning goal and when presented with a one on one with the keeper squeezed the ball home at the near post.
Minehead managed to keep their heads for the remaining five minutes and with every player having played their part in a hard fought encounter, deserved to take all three points.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, L Todd (c), P Smyth, M Mullen, J Groves-Furse, S Phillips, W Pooley, L Bloys, R Addicott, L Freeman,
Minehead supporters have two opportunities to witness important home matches in the next few days with a local derby against Bishops Lydeard at The Recreation Ground tomorrow (Saturday) and on Wednesday evening high flying Berrow are the visitors for a 7.45pm evening kick off.
Minehead Reserves, who have also recaptured their early season form in recent weeks, are without a match.
Saturday 3rd March 2012
ASHTON & BACKWELL UTD (0) 1MINEHEAD (1) 1
Minehead travelled to 5th placed Ashton & Backwell United, against whom they had failed to score in their 3 meetings since being in the Somerset Senior League, and came away with a creditable point having been in the lead for a good part of the game.
Chris Yeates, wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of Lee Todd, was the first to have an attempt on goal, but his effort went over the cross bar.
Play started fairly evenly but as the half grew so did the visitors and a Matt Cracknell free kick created an opportunity for Stefan Phillips whose shot went just wide.
Two dangerous home corners were admirably dealt with dealt with, the first by goalkeeper Chris Meredith and the second was well cleared by Jack Groves-Furse. A Paul Smyth free kick found Chris Yeates but his cross come shot could not be forced home by Luke Bloys. However after a low save from Meredith, following a strong run and accurate pass from Freeman, Bloys did manage to convert a Groves-Furse cross to put the blues into a deserved lead in the 35th minute.
After the break Minehead continued to press, looking for the second goal, and after a hand ball infringement just outside the box a strong free kick cannoned off the home wall. Chris Newbold then saw his header go just over the bar, and Jack Groves-Furse’s low shot was held by the home keeper. The home side then brought on the first of their substitutes and Chris Meredith was called upon to make a fine save from a free kick. However with the home side now doing the pushing Gary Crooke levelled the scores on 55 minutes after a goal-mouth scramble.
A brave header from Matt Cracknell averted another attack from Ashton & Backwell then after Jack Page replaced Jack Groves-Furse tempers flared and Stefan Phillips was shown a yellow card following a tussle with an opponent. After a second substitution a home player was also shown a yellow card by the referee, and after Chris Meredith had again foiled the home attack Ross Addicott replaced Luke Freeman for Minehead. The final noteworthy incident of the game saw Jack Page cautioned for kicking the ball away.
Minehead, who were unbeaten in February, face the daunting trip to Cutters Friday this Saturday, followed by a floodlit match at the improved Odd Down Reserves the following Tuesday. Minehead Reserves, having become the first team to take points from league leaders Appletree on Saturday with a fine 3 goal comeback to draw 3-3, are again at home with Redgate being the visitors for a 2.30pm kick off.
Saturday 25th February 2012
TAUNTON BLACKBROOK (1) 2 MINEHEAD (1) 2
Minehead failed to take the opportunity of recording another league double when they visited Taunton Blackbrook at Wordsworth Drive last Saturday, coming up against a home team who appeared far more stubborn than their previous two league results would have implied.
The first half did start rather like the recent form book suggested, with Minehead applying good pressure and looking the better side from the kick off. After 5 minutes following a good move Matt Cracknell’s shot from outside the box was not good enough to beat experienced home goalkeeper Paul Edwards, one of four players starting for the home team who had worn Minehead shirts earlier in their careers.
After a pot shot from midfielder Simon Stone had been comfortably saved by Chris Meredith, an exquisite pass from deep by Stefan Phillips enabled Chris Yeates, playing a striker’s role, to outstrip the home defence and his accurate centre was met on the run by Luke Freeman who netted confidently from close range to put Minehead one up.
With Jack Groves-Furse’s efficient use of the ball from a holding midfield position and Stefan Phillips’ probing passes proving influential in Minehead’s midfield the visitors remained continued to look like scoring and another good move which released Chris Newbold on the right flank was headed just over the bar by Chris Yeates.
The home side however, for whom midfielder Simon Stone and centre forward Corey Lewis proved dangerous throughout, came back into contention on the half hour when a good run by Lewis took him passed several opponents until he was brought down by Paul Smyth in the penalty area. Former Minehead stalwart Keith Graddon, now in charge at Blackbrook, placed the resulting penalty kick beyond Chris Meredith to level the scores, somewhat against the run of play.
The goal did have the effect of knocking the blues off their stride, and the remainder of the first half was far more evenly contested.
The second half opened with a good run on the right from Phillips whose centre found Yeates but his crisp shot was blocked by the alert Edwards, who then recovered well to push a second attempt from Newbold round the post. Lewis again troubled the Minehead defence with his strong running and ability to beat opponents at will and it took an important save from Meredith to keep the score level. However seconds later Lewis again showed Minehead’s defenders a clean pair of heels and this time centred to Stone who shot home from 10 yards.
The game now turned into a good contest and after Luke Bloys had replaced Ross Addicott and burly home midfielder Carl Edwards was booked for continual infringements, Lewis’ strike partner Maddock broke through and having rounder Meredith saw his goal-bound shot headed away by Minehead captain Lee Todd. With the game flowing from end to end a strong run and shot from Yeates was again competently dealt with by Edwards but in their next attack Minehead were back on level terms when Matt Cracknell’s dangerous low cross was cleverly flicked past Edwards from the edge of the six yard box.
With quarter of an hour to play Chris Meredith brilliantly saved Stone’s 30 yard free kick, and after both sides had used all of their remaining permitted substitutes a last minute free kick by Paul Smyth almost won the blues all three points but the home keeper completed a fine personal performance by tipping the goal-bound curler away for a corner from just under his crossbar.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, M Cracknell, P Smyth, L Todd (c), J Groves-Furse, S Phillips, W Pooley, R Addicott, C Yeates, L Freeman,
Minehead Reserves have a home match against current league leaders Appletree, who are yet to drop a point in a league encounter this season, whilst scoring 50 goals in their 12 games played.
Saturday 18th February 2012
MINEHEAD (0) 2 NAILSEA TOWN (0) 0
A sparse home crowd who braved the cold, wind and rain were rewarded with two late goals, giving the blues a much welcomed first victory in ten games.
Minehead included in their line up striker Brian Hall, who had not started a match for the blues since April 2009, and he was the first to have an attempt on goal when after just two minutes he shot narrowly wide. A few minutes later, with Minehead looking the better side, recent recruit Wes Pooley worked an opening for himself but his right footed curler from the edge of the box also went wide of the goal-frame. However having weathered the early storm the visitors came more into the game and the remaining 30 minutes of the first half saw an even but uneventful period when neither attack saw a great deal of the ball with both teams guilty too frequently guilty of giving possession away cheaply. Goalmouth action was at a premium though a fierce drive from the visitors’ Dan Cook was straight at home keeper Chris Meredith who did well to cleanly grasp the chest high ball at the first attempt. For the home team Wes Pooley saw his long shot go wide, and at the other end Matt Pilgrim broke clear only for Meredith to again keep the blues level competently saving a poorly directed shot. Just before half time a late challenge by Ross Addicott saw the only caution by a refreshingly good referee.
The second half started in much the same way as the first but this time Minehead’s superiority lasted for the full 45 minutes. Five minutes into the half, after a slick Minehead move midfielder Jack Groves-Furse, enjoying arguably his best performance of the season, saw his shot from the edge of the box well saved by the keeper. Minutes later the keeper again came to Nailsea’s rescue, this time keeping out Ross Addicott’s effort, then Matt Cracknell, making a trademark penetrating run from deep, shot just over the bar. Just past the hour mark substitute Declan green replaced Harry Scatchard and with Minehead seemingly fully in control Brian Hall was the next to be foiled by the visiting keeper who this time dealt with a goal bound lob.
Nailsea did force their way back into the match and Carl Chisholm twice went close – first his angled shot was just wide then having burst through the defence shot over the bar.
Finally the deadlock was broken when after another marauding run full back Matt Cracknell was upended and from the resulting free kick Paul Smyth expertly shot into the top corner from 25 yards giving the keeper no chance. In the dying seconds a cross from Matt Cracknell evaded the keeper and Luke Freeman was on hand to nod home from close range.
Minehead who face the short trip to play at Taunton Blackbrook this Saturday, hope to have Stefan Phillips available for selection following an injury picked up at the end of January along with Luke Bloys whose suspension has now finished. The hosts, who are currently led by former Minehead stalwart Keith Graddon who still plays at Somerset County level at the age of 50, have lost their last two games heavily since the previous manager parted company, and lie just below Minehead in the league table.
Saturday 28th January 2012
MINEHEAD (0) 0 CHEDDAR (0) 3
Minehead’s second match on consecutive Saturdays against league leaders Cheddar saw them finish the game losing 3-0, having earned a creditable draw at Cheddar last week. Cheddar’s clinical finishing in the second half, when they scored three times, was the difference between the two sides and though Minehead competed well and had comparable spells of possession to their higher placed visitors, they were not able to create many clear cut chances.
The game started with Cheddar taking a firm grip on proceedings and for the first 15 minutes it looked as if the blues were going to be in for a dogged afternoon. In the first minute keeper Chris Meredith needed to make a fine save to prevent Adam Jones from opening the scoring. After this early onslaught however Minehead seemed to claw themselves back into the game and the remainder of the first half, without being a footballing spectacle, was a far more evenly balanced contest.
The blues’ first serious attempt on goal came after 29 minutes when Stefan Phillips’ free kick from the edge of the penalty area curled just the wrong side of the post. Jack Goves-Furse wriggled past two defenders but his shot also went wide and just before the half time whistle his speculative effort was fumbled by the keeper with no Minehead striker in close enough attendance to benefit from the spill. In between these two attempts Adam Jones shot high over the bar when well placed for the visitors.
Luke Freeman replaced playmaker Stefan Phillips for the second half, who had damaged a ligament during a tussle with an opponent late in the first half, and the home side seemed to lose their way. Again Cheddar took the early initiative and twelve minutes into the half, after Minehead wasted a throw in at the other end of the pitch, the leaders broke swiftly and after a good run from Joel Butcher, George Booth was set up by an accurate pass from Adam Jones and he struck the ball competently past Chris Meredith in the home goal to open the scoring.
Harry Scatchard replaced stop-gap striker Paul Smyth as Minehead refused to roll-over and the game remained a contest until 20 minutes from time when a bizarre incident saw Chris Meredith attempt a short free kick but inadvertently the ball fell to the grateful George Booth who doubled his and his team’s account from just inside the box. Meredith was booked for remonstrating, but the goal stood. Five minutes from time Adam Jones broke clear but again blazed over the bar, however the striker rubbed salt into the blues’ wounds scoring with a well placed shot with effectively the last kick of the game to give his side a deserved victory but perhaps a slightly flattering scoreline.
Minehead will need to fine more creativity and marksmanship if they are to climb the table during the remainder of the season.
Minehead face another tough test this Saturday when they travel to third placed Berrow, for what is believed to be the first meeting of the two clubs in Minehead’s 123 year history. Having been promoted last season Berrow have started the season well at the higher standard and were top of the table for much of the first half of the season. Guy Burns remains on the injury list and Stefan Phillips is likely to be out for several weeks.
Saturday 21st January 2012
CHEDDAR (1) 2 MINEHEAD (1) 2
Minehead’s trip to Cheddar last Saturday when they faced the league leaders, saw them put in a particularly spirited performance during which they twice came from behind to claim a creditable and deserved draw.
The game started keenly with both sides looking to gain the first advantage, and after just three minutes Luke Bloys, who had been pushed off the ball moments earlier, was booked for a petulant kick at an opponent who had managed to get past him. Two minutes later, after a corner was unnecessarily conceded, the home side’s captain and top scorer Adam Jones opened the scoring when the blues’ defence were slow to avert the centre.
But Minehead responded to the early set back and from a perfect Matt Cracknell free kick makeshift centre forward Paul Smyth was desperately unlucky not to equalise when his header was superbly saved at the foot of his right hand post by keeper Simon Venn, who showed good agility throughout the match.
Minehead got their reward for taking the game to their opponents after 16 minutes when a defence splitting pass from Stefan Phillips put Luke Freeman away on the right wing and having made good ground he centred to the unmarked Luke Bloys who had the composure to control the pass before despatching a fine left footed shot which gave Venn no chance, nestling into the top corner.
A similar move on the half hour saw Freeman this time choose to go it alone, and having outstripped the home defence his acute angled shot from the edge of the box beat the keeper but flew agonisingly the wrong side of the goalpost.
The game had now become an even affair, though few clear cut chances were created before the half time whistle blew.
A competitive battle had emerged between the Cheddar dangerman Adam Jones and Minehead’s central defender Chris Yeates, who throughout the game intercepted numerous passes intended for Jones, and generally kept him at bay. However during a short spell during which Yeates was off the pitch receiving treatment, disaster struck the blues when an attempted clearing header from the edge of the box by Luke Freeman, saw the ball fly off the back of the striker’s head and fall kindly to marauding home full back Alex Brandrick who seized the opportunity to stroke the ball past Chris Meredith from 12 yards out.
Again the blues responded gallantly and refused to roll over and within ten minutes they had equalised. A fine move saw Luke Bloys break into the penalty area where he was upended by a desperate challenge. Stefan Phillips confidently scored from the spot, though keeper Simon Venn did manage to get a finger tip to the spot kick but the pace on the ball saw it home.
Minutes after the equaliser Minehead twice came close to taking the lead, firstly another good run by Freeman saw him centre from the right where Bloys cleverly tried to flick the ball home with a back heel but a questionable challenge from a defender knocked him off balance and the chance went begging. Seconds later probably the blues’ best move of the afternoon saw them break through down the opposite flank and after fine interplay involving Bloys, new signing Wes Pooley, Groves-Furse and Phillips, Cracknell got behind the defence and centred to the onrushing Smyth whose lunge at the far post was inches from connecting with the ball with the keeper beaten by the cross.
The home team, sensing they were not in control of a game that anyone looking at the league table would expect them to win, also went after all three points and after a goalmouth melee the blues were rescued by captain Lee Todd who cleared a goalbound shot off the goal-line.
Tempers then flared after a tussle between Bloys and home defender Sam King resulted in Bloys being hauled to the ground, and with both players pushing each other as they returned to their feet the referee gave them both a yellow card meaning that Bloys, having been shown a card early in the game, took no further part.
In the dying seconds Adam Jones was guilty of blasting over the bar when well placed with a golden opportunity to win the match which would have been cruel to the Minehead side, whose performance had earned plaudits amongst a partisan home crowd.
Minehead face table toppers Cheddar again this Saturday when the return match takes place at Irnham Road, kick off 3pm. Minehead Reserves travel to Bishops Hull.
Saturday 7th January 2012
SHIREHAMPTON (1) 2 MINEHEAD (1) 1
Minehead’s trip to Shirehampton on Saturday saw them turn in probably their best team performance for 3 months, but though it warranted at least a share of the points, the blues came away from the match with none.
The blues started brightly, with the return of Stefan Phillips appearing to give the side a much needed boost. Slick interplay was evident from the opening minutes with Ross Addicott twice playing intelligent passes to send wide players on their way, then Harry Scatchard did well to release Luke Freeman whose positive run took him past two defenders but when the chance arose the keeper was too good.
It wasn’t long before the visitors’ superiority was reflected on the scoreboard when after another attack had been stopped by a desperate tackle just outside the box resulted in a free kick being given by the referee. Stefan Phillips stepped up and marked his return to the side with a superbly executed free kick which curled into the top corner giving Mark Winkler no chance in the home goal.
Shirehampton however, were to prove no walkover, and though they have started the season poorly having set high standards as champions last season, they have in recent weeks shown more consistency turning in some useful wins and climbing the league swiftly. In central strikers Danny Copeland and Dan Griffiths goals never seem far away, and with no-nonsense players in key positions, it would be a brave man to bet against them finishing the season higher than their current sixth place.
It was the lively Danny Copeland who levelled the scores after 12 minutes when he rounded off Shire’s first real attack on goal, and having got free of the blues defence he struck a right foot shot past the advancing Chris Meredith from the edge of the box.
It was however still Minehead who looked the most like scoring and played the better football for the remainder of the first half. With Jack Groves-Furse making only his second first XI start since the first week in September, and also Luke Bloys making his first start of the season after a lengthy injury, the side looked balanced in midfield and with Stefan Phillips working hard and showing his undoubted quality the visitors stayed in control of the ball for good periods.
Rob Gurnett’s pass put Luke Bloys away on the left flank and his cross was met well by Luke Freeman but with the keeper completely beaten his header from 12 yards went agonisingly the wrong side of the angle of post and crossbar. Chris Meredith was called into action soon after and he kept the scores level with a full length save from Dan Griffiths. A superb slide-rule pass from Phillips then put marauding defender Rob Gurnett through on goal but a desperate last ditch tackle by a recovering defender averted the chance on goal.
With half time approaching Harry Scatchard burst through the home defence but slightly over-ran the ball meaning there was a 50/50 challenge between him and home keeper Mark Winkler. The impact of the ensuing collision meant Scatchard took no further part in the match with a bad injury to his shin, and Winkler hobbled badly for the rest of the game.
A point blank save from Mark Winkler kept out Chris Newbold’s header after a well worked corner between Phillips and Groves-Furse created space for the former to put in an inch perfect left footed cross. Another well worked triangle of passes on the left flank resulted in a crisp shot from Phillips being pushed wide by the alert Winkler’s finger tips.
Again Meredith kept out a good effort from Griffiths as play continued to ebb and flow, and yet another Stefan Phillips shot, this one seemingly destined for the top corner, was pushed away by Winkler’s finger tips for a corner. Jack Grover-Furse showed good close control to wriggle past two defender, and still Winkler managed to push the shot away for another corner.
With 7 minutes remaining on the clock another 50/50 ball between a goalkeeper and a striker saw Danny Copeland collide with Chris Meredith whilst the keeper was collecting the ball. Minehead’s defence desperately tried to cover the goal-line but Copeland managed to re-collect the ball and slot it home.
The blues were not able to respond with what would have been a deserved and much welcomed equaliser in the final minutes, but manager Robbie Hopkins will take a lot of positives from the game knowing that he is now working with a group of players who want to play for their place in the team.
Minehead are again without a scheduled match this Saturday, but manager-less Minehead Reserves, have a home match against Highbridge Town Reserves.
Boxing Day Monday 26th December 2011
MINEHEAD (0) 0 WATCHET TOWN (1) 2
A large West Somerset crowd of 428 turned up to witness Watchet Town claim the honours in a local derby which in some ways failed again to live up to it’s own high expectations, with few goalmouth opportunities.
After the initial few minutes of testing and probing it was the home side who appeared to take the most initiative and for the first quarter of an hour seemed the most likely to open the scoring. The nearest they came to scoring however was a Guy Burns free kick in a dangerous position which failed to beat the Watchet wall. Minehead’s strikers looked lively but Watchet’s defence was well marshalled and with the experienced heads of former Minehead stalwarts Nunn, Heywood, Taylor and Sparks the centre of the defence and the midfield looked solid.
This was the basis of how Watchet pulled themselves back into the play, and with Minehead having failed to score in the period in which they were on top it was soon Watchet’s turn look marginally the better side and after some hesitation in the Minehead defence Adam Sparks burst through and despatched a fierce shot from 12 yards which gave Minehead keeper Sidley-Adams no chance.
Shortly afterwards he made a fine, important save from Chris Sully as Watchet looked to increase their lead. Just before half time Tom Sparks shot high and wide when well placed.
Early in the second half Matt Cracknell replaced Guy Burns for the home side and Louis Allen came on for Peter Baker for the visitors with both sides looking to obtain an advantage, but still real goalmouth action was at a premium though the game retained it’s competitive edge.
Five players were booked throughout a game which never boiled over, with several individual tussles being evenly matched. The expected midfield battle between Binding and Baker was neither won nor lost, and nor was the tussle between Watchet’s recent signing from Minehead Tom Sparks and the home side’s central defenders Mike Mullen and Chris Yeates.
The game finished with weary legs showing on both sides but with Minehead pushing men forward for the elusive equaliser it was Watchet who found some extra energy to dispossess the blues defence and substitute Louis Allen poked the ball passed an exposed Connor Sidley-Adams to double their advantage and seal all three points. There was no time to restart the match with the referee blowing for time as the ball crossed the goal-line.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, R Gurnett, L Todd, C Yeates, M Mullen (c), R Binding, R Addicott, C Newbold, G Burns, J Page, L Freeman
This Saturday sees Minehead travel to second in the table Berrow, for what is believed to be the first ever meeting between the two clubs. Kick-off is at 12 noon.
Saturday 3rd December 2011
MINEHEAD (0) 0 STOCKWOOD GREEN (3) 3
Minehead fell behind within the first minute of this mid table Errea Somerset Premier Division clash at Irnham Road last Saturday, and though possession was relatively even throughout the game, two further goals just before half time meant that the points went back to Bristol with Stockwood Green who remain a position below Minehead in the league table.
With both sides having a handful of players missing the
visitors took the lead in under 60 seconds when defender Stuart Oppery stabbed
a loose ball home from eight yards giving deputising keeper Nathan Sheehan no
Minehead rallied but their first real chance went begging
after 10 minutes when last season’s top scorer missed a golden opportunity. Next to be denied was Dominic Jones for the
visitors, whose shot was well saved by Sheehan.
With the blues appearing to take a small amount of
control an opportunity was presented to Harry Scatchard who latched onto a
through ball but slid the wrong side of the keeper and the goalframe and the
chance was gone. Another attempt from
Jones, this time an angled effort was competently saved by Sheehan but then in
the 5 minutes running up to half time disaster struck twice for the blues and
they were left 3-0 down at half time. Firstly Glynn Luffman scored in a
goalmouth scramble from which the blues defence failed to clear the danger,
then moments later a high cross caught Sheehan in two minds and when it seemed
simpler to push the ball over the crossbar to the relative safety of a corner,
he kept the ball in play and it dropped kindly at the feet of Nat Brain who
converted to put the game out of reach.
Early in the second half a Guy Burns shot was well saved
by the burly but very competent keeper Ricky Lebiedz, then three minutes later
the striker found his way into the referee’s notebook to join his team-mates
Mike Mullen and Luke Freeman who had been cautioned earlier.
One piece of good news for the blues was the introduction of Matt Cracknell as a second half substitute, and he seemed to come through the test without difficulty. Playing a cameo strikers’ role he brought a spark to the home attack and twice forced saves from Lebiedz.
Minehead: N Sheehan, P Smyth, L Todd, C Yeates, M Mullen (c), R Addicott, N Phillips, C Newbold, G Burns, H Scatchard, L Freeman
Subs: A Hall (10,64mins), M Cracknell (7,64mins), L Smyth, J Browning, R Hopkins
Minehead are again without a scheduled match this Saturday, but the Reserve side, who have spluttered a little in recent weeks after a strong start, travel to face red hot title favourites Appletree.
Saturday 19th November 2011
MINEHEAD (1) 1 CUTTERS FRIDAY (0) 1
Minehead came within five minutes of gaining revenge for a heavy defeat a fortnight earlier, but Cutters Friday's seasoned striker Ryan Bending added to his already impressive tally to level the score and claim a point for his side.
It was Bending who had the first opportunity to open the scoring when after 7 minutes he directed his header straight at Sidley-Adams in the Minehead goal who comfortably collected the ball, but with Minehead showing good approach work and shortly afterwards Guy Burns’ snapshot from fifteen yards clipped a defender and deflected just wide with the keeper seemingly beaten. After Ryan Bending had headed wide of the Minehead goal, Luke Freeman missed the best chance of the match so far when he prodded the ball wide of the open goal from an acute angle.
Just after the half hour mark Sidley-Adams made a fine save from another effort from dangerman Bending. With half time approaching Craig Carr replaced Rich Binding in the Minehead midfield after he had been trying to run off an earlier knock, and Connor Fricker shot wide for the visitors.
Minehead’s emerging free kick specialist Lee Smyth, who had scored from three direct free kicks in the last three games, shot home expertly from 25 yards out, finding the top corner with deadly accuracy.
Having been the best side for most of the first half Minehead spent a lot of the second period defending as the visitors tried hard to get back into the game. Chances were at a premium however with Bending seemingly involved in the majority of the Bristol sides’ attempts on goal. Centre half Roy Albert headed over the bar when presented with a good opportunity, then twice in two minutes Bending headed over the crossbar. However the County league’s third highest scorer this season was not to be denied when he levelled the scores five minutes from time shooting home from just inside the box to claim a point for his side.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, P
Smyth, L Todd, C Yeates, M Mullen (c), R Binding, N
Phillips, J Page, G Burns, L Smyth, L Freeman
Upcoming Matches: With the First XI without a game this weekend management team Robbie Hopkins and Paul Newbold have the chance to look at the Reserve team players who have at home match against Bishops Lydeard Colts who come to The Rec on Saturday for a 2.30 kick off.
Wednesday 16th November 2011
MINEHEAD (3) 4 NAILSEA UTD (4) 8
With their first taste of senior football at Irnham Road since early October, Minehead’s supporters, who turned out in good numbers despite being a very wet evening, were treated to a goal fest by their highly placed opponents Nailsea United, whose wins puts them into second position in the league table.
But there was no sign of the visitors’ hot goalscoring form which had seen them net 15 goals in their last two matches during the opening exchanges and though play was fast and went from end to end it was Minehead who looked the more likely to open the scoring. After 15 minutes Guy Burns was released on the left flank and his early cross was perfect for the oncoming Lee Smyth whose crisp first time shot from the edge of the box was superbly parried but Smyth managed to convert the loose ball to put the blues one up. Five minutes later a fierce left footed shot from Rich Binding was pushed around the post for a fruitless corner then Nailsea managed their first serious attempt at goal when a cross come shot from Steve Lester came back off the inside of the post and into the clutches of Connor Sidley-Adams in the Minehead goal.
But it was Minehead’s attack that was looking the liveliest and in particular Jack Page, whose jinking run from the byeline took him past two defender and his angled strike from 15 yards out was too good for the keeper who could not prevent it ending up in the top corner to double the home score.
Within a minute the visitors had halved the deficit when Matt Long scored from the edge of the box, but Minehead responded swiftly with Guy Burns converting Jack Page’s centre to make restore the two-goal advantage. Being in relative control five minutes from half time against the in-form side in the league Minehead appeared to freeze and three goals in quick succession meant the visitors held a 4-3 advantage at half time. Firstly James Lee scored with a well placed lob then after Darren Bloomfield shot into the side netting Stuart Lee equalised with a header. On the verge of half time Matt Long scored his second to put Nailsea in front for the first time in the match.
Nick Phillips replaced Andy Hall for the second half as a shell-shocked Minehead came out looking to get back into the game but just two minutes into the second period Harry Hope had made the blues’ task that much harder making it 5-3 with a long shot which curled into the top corner. Paul Smyth showed that Minehead were not ready to roll over when his header was fumbled by the keeper and the ball trickled over the line to reduce the deficit to just one goal. Minehead took the game to the visitors but on the hour Guy Burns was booked for bad language.
With the match now in it’s final quarter it was still anybody’s game but two goals in two minutes then put the result beyond any real doubt. Firstly a clumsy challenge by Page which earned him a booking enabled Matt Long to covert his third from the penalty spot, then James Lee was in the right place at the right time to score into an empty net.
Harry Scatchard replaced the tiring Jack Page, who had played a full 90 minutes in a schoolboy match earlier in the day, but with 10 minutes remaining James Lee scored his second and Nailsea’s 8th to finish off the scoring.
A minute later Lee Smyth committed a foul and having received a harsh yellow card for his challenge was shown a straight red in response to a comment made to the inconsistent referee. Declan Green replaced the hobbling Mike Mullen for the final few minutes.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, P Smyth, L Todd, C Yeates, M Mullen (c), R Binding, A Hall, J Page, C Carr, L Smyth, L Freeman
Saturday 5th November 2011
CUTTERS FRIDAY (4) 6 MINEHEAD (1) 1
Minehead faced an uphill task when they arrived at this season’s team to beat Cutters Friday with their 3rd choice goalkeeper, and on top of two long term injuries a further seven players were either injured or not available.
The game kicked off 15 minutes late following the home side’s point blank refusal to start at the arranged time as the showers would not have been available when the game finished due to a junior game taking place on an adjoining pitch.
To their credit Minehead started brightly and with the hosts looking disjointed it was Lee Todd who had the first goal-scoring opportunity when he the ball fell for him after two defenders went for the same ball, but his effort from the edge of the box was comfortable for the keeper. However the writing was on the wall a few minutes later when following their first venture into the blues’ penalty box resulted in a corner kick from which top scorer Ryan Bending headed home unchallenged.
After a quarter of an hour, the home side doubled their lead when the pick of their midfielders Leon Britton scored direct from a free kick.
Goalkeeper Sam Armitage, playing bravely through the pain of a back injury, then saved a point blank shot with his legs, the ball going to the comparative safety of a corner kick. With the home side now starting to get on top Ian Power missed a glorious chance to make it three when he was presented with a one on one with Armitage.
Minehead, who were far from being outplayed at this stage, reduced the deficit on the half hour when emerging free kick specialist Lee Smyth scored direct from his third consecutive free kick – this one giving the keeper no chance perfectly placed in off the post.
Sensing a half chance of a recovery the blues kept attacking and after Guy Burns had beaten two defenders he passed to Lee Todd whose placed shot from the edge of the box was saved at the foot of the post by the keeper.
However five minutes before half time central defender Dean Wedmore headed home unchallenged from close range and on the stroke of half time centre forward Ryan Bending virtually put the game out of Minehead’s reach prodding home from close range.
On the hour Bending completed his hat-trick after an incisive move left him clear on goal and the seasoned striker made no mistake in making it 5-1.
After Ross Addicott had replaced Luke Freeman a fine run from Guy Burns which took him passed two defenders ended when his shot was too close to the keeper who comfortably held his angled drive. After Ross Addicott was booked for a late challenge substitute Andrew Nash headed home from close range after Ian Power had beaten Mike Mullen on the byeline.
Minehead: S Armitage, C Carr, L Smyth, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, D Green, G Burns, L Todd, H Scathard, L Freeman
With Jack Page and Connor Sidley-Adams both picked for Somerset U18 duty this Saturday, the scheduled home match with third placed Nailsea United has been moved to Wednesday evening (16th) with a 7.45pm kick off at The Rec.
Minehead Reserves have an away cup match at Stogursey, who they meet in the Seward Memorial Cup 2nd Round kick off 2pm.
Saturday 29th October 2011
ST GEORGE EASTON in GORDANO (2) 3 MINEHEAD (0) 3
Last Saturday Minehead made the mistake of thinking they merely had to turn up to claim the points against bottom of the table opposition, and by half time had slipped two goals behind a team who were showing a greater desire to win the game.
Within the first minute the blues had a scare when right winger Adam Bell sped round makeshift fullback Lee Smyth but his cross from the byeline went begging. It was Bell who was causing the majority of the problems, but in burly centre forward Ian Leadbetter and midfield destroyer Paul Armstrong and his compatriot Darren Rowles Minehead were being out-muscled in the middle of the park and the defence had little respite with the ball coming back too quickly.
On the occasions that Minehead did get to dictate play in the first half it was normally instigated by Stefan Phillips who started to show the home midfield a clean pair of heels but home keeper Jim Williams was not tested enough during the opening 45 minutes. Minehead fell behind on 25 minutes when after Ashley Hughes beat two defenders and cut in from the corner flag. His dangerous cross was half cleared but fell kindly to Paul Armstrong who confidently volleyed past Connor Sidley-Adams from just outside the box.
Minehead responded and after deft footwork by Craig Carr who then released Jack Page but having raced through his shot was too high. The home side then doubled their advantage when after the referee deemed a seemingly good winning challenge from Richie Binding, the free kick gave Adam Bell the opportunity to curl the ball past Sidley-Adams.
Playing down the sloping pitch for the second period, Minehead introduced Guy Burns as a replacement for Jack Page and it was apparent that the blues knew that they would get nothing from the match without putting in a rousing second half performance. Having experienced far more of the play during the opening 15 minutes of the second period, after Stefan Phillips had been booked for showing studs in a tackle the blues brought on more fresh legs into their attack with Lee Todd and Harry Scatchard replacing Nick Phillips and Craig Carr. In the 64th minute Minehead finally managed to reduce the deficit when Stefan Phillips released Luke Freeman on the right flank and the pacy winger who had caused the home defence problems throughout the second half, again beat his marker and his cross from the byeline was confidently despatched by Harry Scatchard.
A come-back now seemed on the cards and the home goal became under siege but disaster struck a quarter of an hour from the end when Scatchard gave the ball away near the half way line and Ashley Hughes took the opportunity to run through an exposed defence to regain the home side’s two goal advantage shooting home from the edge of the box.
Minehead now went for broke and with seven minutes remaining defender Paul Smyth broke through the home defence but his shot was blocked by the keeper. Two minutes later Paul’s brother Lee took the responsibility of taking a free kick on the edge of the box and his left footed curler went out of the reach of Jim Williams and into the top corner. After plenty of goalmouth action the blues managed to level the scores in the 90th minute when another free kick was awarded on the edge of the home penalty area and Lee Smyth’s curling, head height shot left the home keeper expecting a glancing header but the ball evaded all and curled into the far corner.
After the final whistle Paul Smyth was shown a red card by the referee for making a comment to a team-mate about the referee’s assistant, who regardless of his contentious decisions had been on his mobile phone in the first half and was rolling a cigarette during play in the second.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, C Newbold, L Smyth, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, C Carr, N Phillips, L Freeman
Minehead Reserves, who last Saturday experienced a match being postponed due to a shortage of referees for the second time in three weeks, face Norton Fitzwarren at The Rec in a 2.30pm kick off, when they will be protecting their 100% league record.
ANOTHER BLUES DUO PICKED FOR SOMERSET
Hot on the heels of senior players Mike Mullen and Matt Cracknell being picked to represent the county, Minehead teenagers Jack Page and Connor Sidley-Adams have been included in the Somerset U18 squad to play against Devon in the FA Youth Cup at Newton Abbot on Saturday 12th November. Goalkeeper Sidley-Adams is also featuring in England Youth Representative XI games.
Tuesday 18th October 2011
BRIDGWATER RESERVES (0) 0 MINEHEAD (0) 1
Minehead did just about enough to deserve the three points acquired at Bridgwater Reserves on Tuesday evening, with a 75th minute goal from Luke Freeman which not only meant their first league double of the season but also enabled them to leapfrog over their local rivals Watchet in the league table, though the blues have now played two games more.
Both sides tried to play crisp football on the near perfect playing conditions which were made lively by the intermittent rain, but it was often the final ball which resulted in neither goalkeeper being particularly overworked. A snapshot from Nick Phillips almost gave the visitors the lead mid way through the first half but the attempt curled fractionally over, then a speculative long shot meant Connor Sidley-Adams needed to be alert in pushing the ball round the post. After Chris Newbold had done well to keep a harmless ball in play Guy Burns created an opening for himself but shot wide of the goal-frame. The half finished soon after an attempt by ex Minehead player Kenzie Farnham was again pushed around the post by Sidley-Adams.
The balance of play seemed to shift from side to side and it was only after Jack Page was introduced into the affray as a 70th minute substitute that Minehead seemed to find some urgency and direction. With Minehead starting to now get on top Stefan Phillips found the teenager with a perfect through ball and having shown the defence a clean pair of heels Jack Page centred to the unmarked Luke Freeman who scored from close range.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, C. Newbold, L Smyth, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, G Burns, C Carr, N Phillips, L Freeman
After a busy fortnight Minehead are without a match this weekend, but Minehead Reserves travel to Norton Fitzwarren where they will be looking to preserve their 100% league record against the current T&D Division 3 basement club.
Minehead captain Mike Mullen and left sided player Matt Cracknell have both been picked to play in a Somerset County League representative XI who take on the Hampshire County League side at Bridgwater Town’s Fairfax Park next Saturday afternoon. The winners will progress to the next round of a national competition which is being staged over two seasons. Both players were picked for the last round when Somerset won their first round tie in Sussex with Mike Mullen being awarded the man of match accolade.
Saturday 15th October 2011
LANGFORD ROVERS 2000 (0) 2 MINEHEAD (0) 0
With the season just eleven games old Minehead played Weston Super Mare based Langford Rovers 2000 for the third time and again failed to score against a competent but ultimately beatable side.
The first ten minutes saw Minehead give a good account of themselves and take the game to their hosts. With Craig Carr replacing the unavailable Guy Burns as a makeshift target man, it was the diminutive ball player who was catching the eye with his intelligent link play and good use of the ball. However it was the home side who went closest to scoring in the early stages after Minehead’s central defenders Paul Smyth and Mike Mullen both paused whilst going for the same ball allowing experienced streetwise striker Ryan Havard to burst through the defence but his shot from an acute angle went harmlessly wide. With play moving from end to end a Craig Carr snapshot almost caught out home keeper Jamie Crandon, then it was Harry Scatchard who tested the home keeper after a slide rule pass put the striker through on goal. The half finished with a long range free kick from Craig Carr fizzing just over the bar.
The second half started with the home side forcing an early corner and towering centre half Joe Popperwell made his presence felt heading home at the far post amongst a group of players. Minehead responded with Harry Scatchard beating his marker and firing a left foot shot goalbound which Crandon had to push around the post. Next was a Paul Smyth free kick which curled less than a foot too high of the goal frame with Crandon seemingly beaten, then a 45 yard effort from the quick thinking Craig Carr almost caught Crandon yards out of his goal, but again the attempt was wide of the target.
However Langford were also looking for a goal to gain some breathing space and centre forward Ryan Havard expertly finished a strong counter attack from the right wing and once again the former Southern League striker made himself the thorn in Minehead’s side.
A seemingly evenly matched contest was thereby put out of Minehead’s reach, though in the final ten minutes the pass of the match from Carr evaded the last defender finding Scatchard whose one on one with Crandon ended with the striker’s shot being parried by the keeper, then the blues failed to capitalise on a potential lifeline when Nick Phillips was impeded just inside the box but his cousin Stefan Phillips gave Crandon the opportunity to save his spot kick aiming too close to the middle of the goal.
So once again the Weston based side did enough to win the match, but it was Minehead’s naivety infront of goal compared with the hosts’ clinical confidence when in goalscoring positions that was the difference between two otherwise well matched sides on the day – much as it was when the sides met a week ago at Irnham Road.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, J Groves-Furse, L Smyth, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, H Scatchard, C Carr, N Phillips, L Freeman
Subs: J Page (11,70mins), R Hopkins (Not Used)
After a busy fortnight Minehead are without a match this coming weekend, but Minehead Reserves travel to Norton Fitzwarren where they will be looking to preserve their 100% league record against the current T&D Division 3 basement club.
Minehead captain Mike Mullen and left sided player Matt Cracknell have both been picked to play in a Somerset County League representative XI who take on the Hampshire County League side at Bridgwater Town’s Fairfax Park next Saturday afternoon. The winners will progress to the next round of a national competition which is being staged over two seasons. Both players were picked for the last round when Somerset won their first round tie in Sussex with Mike Mullen being awarded the accolade of man of the match.
Wednesday 12th October 2011
MINEHEAD (2) 2 TAUNTON BLACKBROOK (0) 1
Minehead got their climb up the table back on track on Wednesday evening infront of another good sized Irnham Road crowd by comfortably overcoming Taunton Blackbrook to leapfrog above them in the table and put them in eighth position, behind local rivals Watchet Town who have a game in hand over the blues.
The home side could not have wished for a better start to the game as within the first minute a quick mover caught the home defence napping and a fine cross was finished by last season’s top scorer Luke Freeman whose close range shot was deflected in a defender. With Minehead completely controlling the play for much of the remainder of the first half more goals looked likely but the blues’ forwards were unable to turn chances into goals. Jack Page’s shot was too hot for the keeper after 18 minutes, but nobody was able to capitalise on the loose ball. A minute later Stefan Phillips’ effort went over the bar then Lee Smyth wide when well placed. In response the visitors saw a free kick from Lee Hawkings sail high over the bar on the half hour.
Five minutes later the lively Jack Page raced through the Blackbrook defence but his shot was straight at the advancing keeper who dealt with it comfortably. After 35 minutes Minehead’s Richie Binding was booked for a high challenge and two minutes before the break Connor Sidley-Adams in the Minehead goal had to be alert to deal with a fierce shot.
In the 45th minute central defender Paul Smyth superbly fired home a 22 yard free kick which seemed to goal through the visitors’ wall, leaving the keeper no chance of stopping the shot and thus Minehead’s lead was doubled.
With the home crowd expecting Minehead to score freely in the second half the visitors had different ideas and turned in a better 45 minutes than they had before the break. However Minehead should have finished the game off in the 65th minute when following a superb move instigated by Stefan Phillips, Nick Phillips beat two defenders to the through ball and unselfishly slid the ball past the advancing keeper into the path of fellow strikers Jack Page and Luke Freeman. It was Page who reached the ball first but he appeared to rush his shot a blasted over the open goal from 8 yards out.
As often happens after a chance to kill off the game goes begging the trailing side managed to claw themselves back into the game courtesy of a penalty awarded by the referee when Luke Webber was felled on the edge of the box by Stefan Phillips. With the referee deeming the offence was inside the 18yard box, former Minehead player Webber took the penalty himself and competently beat Sidley-Adams to record his 7th goal of the season. After bringing on two substitutes Blackbrook pressed hard for what was ten minutes earlier an unlikely equaliser and it nearly came in the form of a shot which came back off the inside of the post.
Minehead then seemed to steady the ship and remaining chances fell to blue shirts, however no more goals were recorded.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams, C Newbold, L Smyth, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, G Burns, N Phillips, L Freeman
Subs: H Scatchard (11, 89mins), J Browning (8,82mins), Craig Carr (9,82mins), M Cracknell (Not Used)
Minehead travel to Weston for a return encounter against last week’s opponents Langford Rovers 2000, whom they meet on this occasion in the Errea Somerset County Cup, competed for by the Premier and First Division clubs. The blues return to league action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Bridgwater Reserves is search of their first double of the season, having beaten them 4-1 at Irnham Road back in September when Jack Page hit a hat-trick on his home debut.
Minehead Reserves, whose match at Bishops Hull last week was cancelled due to a shortage of referees, travel to Wembdon for a Rowbarton Charity Cup tie.
Saturday 8th October
MINEHEAD (0) 0 LANGFORD ROVERS 2000 (0) 1
Possible title contenders Langford Rovers 2000 completed the league double over Minehead at The Recreation Ground on Saturday, courtesy of a 50th minute wind assisted 35 yards free kick taken by Kyle Havard.
For the first ten minutes
of the encounter it looked as if the free scoring Weston based side would be
comfortable winners, applying pressure on the Minehead defence from the start.
Debutant goalkeeper Connor Sidley-Adams was called into action after five
minutes, saving well from a long shot from midfielder Kyle Havard.
A few minutes later striker Levi Marlow who scored a bat-trick
against the blues earlier in the season, shot wide from just outside the box.
However Minehead gradually seemed to come to terms with the conditions and
following a good move Luke Freeman shot over the crossbar. With the home side
starting to gain an element of control of the game, Richie Binding headed
inches wide of the far post with the visiting keeper well beaten. Minutes later
a Guy Burns shot was deflected just wide for a corner.
On the half hour Sidley-Adams saved a header from Marlow then Leigh White wasted a good chance by blasting over the crossbar. The closest either side came to opening the scoring was when Jack Page beat Jamie Crandon in the Langford goal but saw his firm right footed shot come back off the foot of the post and cleared away to safety.
Five minutes into the second half Kyle Havard sent a 35 yard free kick into the danger zone and the ball appeared to be guided by a gust of wind over Sidley-Adams and into the roof of the net. Minehead rallied hard to get back on terms and after Leigh White was booked for the visitors Luke Freeman’s shot was comfortably held by Crandon. Captain Mike Mullen then ventured forward and with having beaten two defender saw his fierce shot from 30 yards bounced back off the goalkeeper’s chest. Mullen was the quickest to respond and beating two defenders to the rebound slammed a shot goalwards from just inside the penalty area only to see it hit the top of the crossbar. After Stefan Phillips had picked up a yellow card for handling the ball, inconsistent refereeing saw a crude challenge which brought down Guy Burns result in nothing more than a free kick for the blues. Goalkeeper Jamie Crandon then kept his side infront when he managed to somehow block a goalbound shot from Jack Page. With tempers starting to fray, Guy Burns was booked and though Minehead brought on substitute Harry Scatchard to replace Jack Page, the visitors just did enough to keep the blues at bay and claim all three points.
Minehead: C Sidley-Adams,
C Newbold, L Smyth, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, G
Burns, N Phillips, L Freeman
Minehead travel to Weston for a return encounter against last week’s opponents Langford Rovers 2000, whom they meet on this occasion in the Errea Somerset County Cup, competed for by the Premier and First Division clubs. The blues return to league action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Bridgwater Reserves is search of their first double of the season, having beaten them 4-1 at Irnham Road back in September when Jack Page hit a hat-trick on his home debut.
Minehead Reserves, whose match at Bishops Hull last week was cancelled due to a shortage of referees, travel to Wembdon for a Rowbarton Charity Cup tie.
Saturday 1st October 2011
MINEHEAD (0) 1 ODD DOWN RESERVES (0) 0
Minehead made particularly hard work of beating struggling Odd Down Reserves on Saturday, keeping their supporters on tenterhooks until Lee Todd’s 88th minute strike separated the two sides, and leaves Odd Down Reserves at the foot of the table. With the visitors having conceded 17 goals in their 3 away appearances to date this season, Minehead made the mistake of thinking they only had to turn up to claim the points, but with the early break through not coming, play became scrappy. Early indications were that the home side would have enough in their locker to despatch the visitors comfortably, but with chances being spurned frustration began to set in and this was sensed by the visitors who after the opening quarter of an hour sensed there could be something in the game for them.
An attempted lob from Jack Page was comfortably saved by the visitors’ keeper Chris Manns, who was to become a thorn in the side for Minehead with numerous saves throughout the 90 minutes. It was not one-way traffic however and Minehead’s debutant goalkeeper Sam Armitage was called upon to save bravely at the feet of Jordan Bradbury. Another player making his first start for the blues, Harry Scatchard was then in the heart of the action when having shown a defender a clean pair of heels, saw his shot deflected for a corner.
Two angled shots from the edge of the box from Stefan Phillips were again competently dealt with by the Odd Down captain and man of the match Chris Manns, then it was Odd Down’s turn to apply pressure and Danny Williamson shot just wide of the upright. With play becoming more ragged Jack Page again raced through the visitors’ defence but his shot was wide of the goal.
Early in the second half Jordan Bradbury shot over the bar for the visitors, and with Minehead starting to dictate play Chris Manns did well to save another goal-bound attempt from Jack Page. Chris Newbold was next to be presented with a goalscoring opportunity but his effort from just inside the box went agonisingly wide. With twenty minutes remaining Harry Scatchard’s shot was saved by Manns, then captain Mike Mullen flashed a shot just wide. It looked like Minehead would miss a golden opportunity to record three points after Manns made a brilliant save from Freeman. Craig Carr replaced Harry Scatchard with fifteen minutes left to play, and the visitors were now noticeably tiring. Finally in the 88th minute a determined run from defender Lee Todd took him inside two defenders and with a gap appearing he struck a rare right footed shot past Manns from 20 yards to the relief of the home crowd.
In the final minute with the visitors’ trying hard to salvage a point, it looked like Zach McAllister had levelled the scores with a volley from just outside the penalty area seemingly destined for the top corner, but a miraculous save from Sam Armitage whose agility enabled him to get a strong left hand to the ball and push it over the crossbar.
Whilst it had been a performance not worth dwelling on, three important points take the blues into the top half of the division.
Minehead: S Armitage, C Newbold, L Todd, P Smyth, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, H Scatchard, N Phillips, L Freeman
Wembdon Saints Reserves 0 Minehead Reserves 3
Minehead Reserves: T Edmunds, R Cartwright, T Reed, K Rogers, A Willetts, B Anderson, S Hill, C Sidley-Adams, N Simmonds, T Sparks, W Sellstrom
Minehead next have two interesting home matches in which to attempt to continue their climb up the County League table. Firstly tomorrow (Sat 8th) sees them host fifth placed Langford Rovers 2000 over whom they will seek revenge for a 4-0 drubbing in Weston back in August, which included a hat-trick from inform striker Levi Marlow. Then on Wednesday evening they host neighbours Taunton Blackbrook who side is likely to include former Minehead players Keith and Ben Graddon, Andrew Gubb and Luke Webber. Kick off times are 3pm and 7.45pm respectively. Striker Guy Burns returns to the squad having been unavailable last weekend, and the club are hoping that Lee Smyth will be available providing his international clearance goes through.
Minehead Reserves travel to Bishops Hull for the return league fixture after beating the Taunton side at The Rec during September in a close fought 3-2 victory. The blues’ second string will be keen to preserve their 100% league record.
Saturday 24th September 2011
FALMOUTH TOWN (4) 7 MINEHEAD (1) 3
Though Minehead had the
ball in the net in the opening minute of the match, their defence was largely
unable to cope with Falmouth’s centre forward Ian Hodges and conceded three
goals in the first 15 minutes to a free scoring side who play one level higher in the pyramid.
On a superbly prepared
pitch, made lively by a few hours cornish mist, the visitors appeared to start the brightest and Luke Freeman burst
through un challenged on the right flank. His cross was converted by Guy Burns
but the referee had already blown for what must have been a marginal offside
decision against Freeman. Another free flowing move down the same flank this
time saw Chris Newbold cross to Jack Page who shot over the bar from 20 yards.
Disaster then struck with Falmouth’s first serious attack when following a defence splitting 4 man one touch move instigated by the impressive midfielder Dan Green was slammed past the exposed Chris Meredith by Joe Lugg. On twelve minutes a superb in-swinging corner from the right flag by left back Karl Turner was met expertly by Ian Hodges whose bullet like header would have beaten the majority of top flight keepers. Two minutes later Minehead deservedly halved the deficit when a fine move featuring Stefan Phillips and Guy Burns was slammed home by Jack Page from 12 yards out.
Thinking they were back in the game the blues had another shock when a slick through ball from Green found Matt Drummond in acres of space and he raced through the heart of the Minehead defence and shot confidently past Meredith to make it 3-1. A crisp 30 yard effort from playmaker Green then flashed the wrong side of the upright, but Minehead were not being outclassed and a free kick taken by Stefan Phillips was deflected just wide of the post for a fruitless corner.
With play swinging from
end to end the next goal was going to be hugely important and it went to the
hosts when after 33 minutes Hodges, who was playing conference football last
season capitalised on a sliced clearance from Lee Todd to score Falmouth’s
fourth. The home side now went for the visitors’ jugular and the Minehead goal
had a charmed life for the final five minutes of an eventful first half. Firstly
Karl Turner’s effort hit the top of the bar, then Green’s attempt was expertly
tipped over by the over worked Chris Meredith after another incisive, slick
move. In the final minute of the half another attempt came back off the bar and
the follow up cleared off the line.
The opening minutes of the
second half saw the hosts open in the same goal hungry fashion and twice in
five minutes the blues’ luck failed to hold out – Shane White’s cross being
headed home by Hodges to complete his hat-trick and then Turner’s cross
deceived Meredith and crept in under the bar at the far post. At 6-1 and with
their superior opponents in rampant fashion having scored five times in each of
their last two games, the blues were staring down the barrel and to all home
supporters it looked as if double figures were very much on the cards. However
to their complete credit Minehead rallied hard and the next 15 minutes of play earnt the visitors numerous gallant comments from the
partisan home supporters.
With the injured Jack Page being replaced at half time by Harry Scatchard, Guy Burns was causing the most problems to the home defence and after a mazy run he was brought down inside the box and Stefan Phillips confidently struck home the penalty. Another fine run from Burns who subsequently released Freeman on the right ended when Phillips’ reverse cross just evaded Binding inside the box. The visitors were enjoying their spell of supremacy and pulled back another goal when Chris Newbold burst through the home defence to beat keeper Jason Chapman from 8 yards. With the home crowd becoming restless, Guy Burns again caused havoc picking the ball up in a deep position and having beaten two opponents unleashed a shot from 30 yards which Chapman did well to keep out. Falmouth now seemed unable to regain their control and another marginal offside decision penalised Harry Scatchard who thought he had made it 6-4. Nick Phillips was the next to test the keeper, who parried his shot, and Guy Burns’ effort from the rebound was blocked on the line.
But as time dragged on it became too big an ask for the blues, and with nine minutes remaining with play having been rather more even for a few minutes, Shane White finished the scoring when he headed home after a deep cross had been headed back into the danger zone.
Minehead’s players were applauded off the pitch by the sizeable crowd, who had witnessed a 10 goal thriller in which both sides will feel they could have scored more times. Though convincingly beaten Minehead can take a lot from the game, and won many Cornish plaudits for their response to being 6-1 down after an hour.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, D Green, C Yeates, L Todd (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, G Burns, N Phillips, L Freeman
Subs: H Scatchard (8, 46mins), Craig Carr (6, 79mins) R Hopkins (Not Used)
Minehead Reserves 3 Bishops Hull 2
Minehead Reserves preserved their 100% league record with a 3-2 home victory over Bishops Hull last Saturday. After going a goal down goalkeeper Connor Sidley-Adams playing as a striker levelled the scores then Paul Smyth put the home side in front. After the visitors, also protecting a 100% league record, had equalised Tom Sparks scored what proved to be the winning goal from the penalty spot five minutes from time.
Minehead Reserves: S Armitage, R Cartwright, P Smyth, A Keal, W Sellstrom, Chris Carr, S Hill, B Anderson, R Addicott, C Sidley-Adams, T Sparks,
Subs G Jackson (6,
75mins), B Jones (7, 72mins) A Willets (Not Used)
Having not been seen at Irnham Road since September 10th, local
supporters will have plenty of opportunities to support the blues during the
next 12 days with three county league matches. Tomorrow they host Odd Down Reserves, followed by the in form Langford Rovers 2000 on Saturday 8th. The following Wednesday (12th)
sees a floodlit match with Taunton Blackbrook being
the opponents at Irnham Road.
Minehead Reserves face
away cup ties for the next two weeks, tomorrow at Wembdon Saints Reserves in the Seward Memorial Cup, followed by another trip to Bridgwater
the following Saturday when they face Wembdon in the Rowbarton Charity cup.
Saturday 17th September 2011
STOCKWOOD GREEN (0) 1 MINEHEAD (2) 2
A rampant Minehead tore into their hosts from the start on Saturday, and in the first twenty minutes created numerous goalscoring opportunities. In the first minute a deep cross from Stefan Phillips found Guy Burns but his opportunist volley flew over the bar. After a blatant shirt pulling manoeuvre by a defender which denied a clear run on goal for Luke Freeman, another through ball found the lively Guy Burns who beat his marker but saw the keeper push his shot from 12 yards around the post for a fruitless corner.
Another raid ended when Chris Newbold’s attempt went too high, but the blues were not to be denied and a perfect pass from Rich Binding released Luke Freeman on the right wing and his early cross was expertly converted by Guy Burns at the far post.
Playing their best football of the season Minehead increased their lead after ten minutes later, when captain Mike Mullen found Guy Burns who beat a defender and dribbled round goalkeeper Ricky Lebiedz in confident fashion.
Luke Freeman’s accurate pass found Jack Page on the edge of the box, and having cleverly beaten two defenders with some intricate skill the youngster’s shot was kept out by Lebietz.
With the home side appearing rattled by Minehead’s fast approach work, Mark Davidson was cautioned for an over- zealous challenge on Rich Binding, but the blues were not able to turn their superiority into further goals and half time arrived with them firmly in control but only two goals up.
The second half saw an improvement in the home side but Minehead still seemed to have the upper hand. A cutting move ended with Jack Page evading the keeper’s challenge but his shot towards the unguarded net was diverted for a corner by a defender’s desperate lunge. Jason Hawkins found his way into the referee’s notebook when the official deemed his rash two footed jump tackle contravened the rules, though no contact on his opponent was made.
Hawkins however was proving to be the home side’s most dangerous player and his fierce shot from outside the box was tipped over the bar superbly by the alert Chris Meredith. Minehead again applied good pressure on the home goal, but four consecutive corners in the space of a minute resulted in a few more chances going begging.
The game opened up with the hosts pushing more men forward, and with Lebietz seeming to deal with everything the blues could direct at the home goal, Minehead almost paid for not building up a bigger lead earlier in the game when with two minutes remaining Stuart Opprey shot through a crowded goalmouth to make it 2-1, but it turned out to be nothing more than a consolation goal.
With Stockwood Green having recently won twice at home by 5-0 scorelines, the blues will be pleased to have brought back all three points from an away match against a team in a higher league position, but they will need to turn possession into more goals if they are to climb further up the league from their current mid-table position.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, D Green, C Yeates, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, G Burns, N Phillips, L Freeman
Minehead Reserves 1 The Gallery 5
Minehead Reserves plummeted out of the Somerset Intermediate Cup on Saturday when Bridgwater based side The Gallery comprehensively beat them by 5 goals to 1 at The Recreation Ground. Though Wayne Sellstrom equalised after visitors had taken an early lead, the advantage was soon restored and goalkeeper Sam Armitage managed to keep the score down to five goals by saving a penalty kick.
Minehead Reserves: S Armitage, R Cartwright, A Horton, K Ackland, A Keal, W Sellstrom, Chris Carr, S Hill T Sparks, H Scatchard, B Anderson, Subs M Graddon, B Jones
Minehead make the long journey to Falmouth this Saturday where they will renew a strong rivalry that has existed in the past, which was particularly strong Minehead Reserves have an opportunity to bounce back from Saturday’s cup exit when they face Bishops Hull at the Rec for a 2.30pm kick off. Both sides currently hold 100% records in the Taunton & District Saturday League Third Division.
Saturday 10th September 2011
MINEHEAD (1) 4 BRIDGWATER TOWN RESERVES (0) 1
Minehead comfortably beat Bridgwater Town Reserves last Saturday, due principally to an expertly executed hat-trick by seventeen year old striker Jack Page. Making just his second start for the blues, the skilful diminutive player took all three goals with the confidence of a seasoned professional, and his three right footed strikes also take him to the top of the clubs’ goalscoring table for the current season.
Luke Freeman appeared to have given Minehead the lead in the second minute, but having bundled in a cross was adjudged to have moved into an offside position. Minehead continued to apply pressure to the visitors’ defence and Bridgwater goalkeeper Luke Buckingham needed to make a good save to keep out Guy Burns’ effort after eight minutes.
But Minehead were not having things all their own way, and twice Chris Meredith was called into action keeping out goal attempts from firstly Robert Snook and then Bridgwater’s most dangerous looking striker Jared Pople.
With the half hour mark approaching and with Minehead’s play having appeared on the nervous side, the blues gradually started to find some cohesion. Firstly Craig Carr’s fierce shot went just over the crossbar, then a long range effort from Guy Burns flashed just wide of the post. Then, having created some space midway into the Bridgwater half, Jack Page spotted an opening and confidently shot home from 25 yards with a precise, low shot to record his first goal for the club.
Moments later Buckingham saved from Freeman but the final five minutes of the first period saw Bridgwater come close to equalising against the run of play when firstly Jared Pope shot just wide then Andy Venning saw his shot saved by Meredith.
The second goal seemed to calm Minehead’s nerves a fine through ball from Craig Carr found Jack Page racing clear of the visitors’ defence and the teenager’s shot from the edge of the box beat Buckingham to put the game out of the visitors’ reach. However after former Minehead player Kenzie Farnham had shot over the bar when well placed, Phillip Hartnup scored the goal of the game when his shot from a direct free kick beat Meredith a found the top corner of the net. Minehead made three substitutions during the final quarter, with two making their mark on the game – James Browning being shown a yellow card for a late challenge within minutes of being introduced, and Declan Green heading an accurate, dangerous cross fractionally over the bar.
In the final minute of the game Jack Page notched his third, again beating Buckingham with a right footed shot, to round off a fine individual performance.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, R Gurnett, L Todd, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, G Burns, Craig Carr, L Freeman
Highbridge Town Reserves 2 Minehead Reserves 4
Minehead Reserves enjoyed a fully deserved 4-2 away victory when they visited Highbridge Town Reserves last Saturday. Two goals from Tom Sparks, plus one a piece for Steve Hill and Wayne Sellstrom put the blues firmly in control, however late goals showed a bit more of a respectable scoreline for the home side.
Minehead Reserves: S Armitage, R Cartwright, A Horton, K Ackland, A Keal, W Sellstrom, Chris Carr, S Hill T Sparks, H Scatchard, B Anderson, Subs M Graddon, B Jones
Minehead travel to Bristol this Saturday to play Stockwood Green, who are three points ahead of the blues, having won three of their first six matches, losing all others. Minehead Reserves face an intriguing Somerset Intermediate Cup tie at the Rec when The Gallery are the opposition for a 2.30pm kick off.
Saturday 3rd September 2011
BISHOPS LYDEARD (2) 5 MINEHEAD (2) 2
After playing some good football and deservedly taking the lead twice in an exciting first half, Minehead capitulated late in the second half when Bishops Lydeard took the advantage, inflicting a 5-2 defeat.
The first half opened well for the Blues with Luke Freeman in particular starting in a lively fashion, giving defender Josh Bartlett a torrid time in the opening exchanges. A perfectly lofted clearance from captain Mullen released Freeman but his fierce shot was tipped around the post by Nathan Whatley. Minehead were finding their men well and after six minutes took the lead when a direct free kick whipped in by Stefan Phillips evaded all and curled into the net. With Minehead playing good football it seemed that Lydeard were struggling to stay in contention and home playmaker Jack Adams was booked in the 12th minute for remonstrating with the referee.
Against the run of play Lydeard then pulled themselves back onto level terms when Jamie Dingle, who played Western League football with Minehead two seasons ago, broke through a hesitant defence and shot competently past Sam Hutchings deputising in the Minehead goal. The blues rallied well and soon regained the lead when after a jinking run from Jack Page resulted in him being unceremoniously upended in the box, Stefan Phillips placed the resulting penalty beyond Nathan Whatley’s reach. Rich Binding then went close as Minehead looked to finish off the game and a superb cross field pass from Phillips released Freeman, whose pace took him past the home rearguard but his shot from an angle was narrowly over.
With five minutes of the first half remaining, after Andy Hall had been booked for kicking the ball away, Sam Hutchings was called upon to save a side-footed shot from Trevor Jenkins, then after experienced Western League striker Leon Taswell had found Pat Sherwood, Lee Todd was adjudged to have brought the player down and Sam Dingle doubled his personal tally from the spot to bring the home side back on level terms. Rich Binding was cautioned for a strong challenge and though he won the ball cleanly was adjudged to have left the ground making the challenge.
At the start of the second home defender Tom Rowe was booked by the inconsistent referee and on the hour with the game still very much in the balance Andy Hall shot just wide from Jack Page’s exquisite pass.
With the game entering it’s final third, the home side took the lead for the first time when Trevor Jenkins finished well, striking home a loose ball from twelve yards.
Minehead’s response came in the form of a shot on the turn from Hall which was blocked on the line, after the keeper had dropped the ball under pressure from Freeman. Minutes later, aggression threatened to boil over when Andy Hall was blocked off the ball by Dan Cook and with both players squaring up to each other Hall was pushed away by the defender. The referee cautioned both players so with Hall having already received a yellow card for petulance in the first half he was dismissed.
The home side used their one man advantage well, and two goals inside a minute from substitutes Scott Hobbs and Jay Cross meant there was no way back into the match for the blues, though Chris Newbold was unlucky when his headed beat the keeper but came back off the crossbar in the closing minutes.
The nap hand from Lydeard, who look a much stronger side this season with three well fed strikers linking well, means that Minehead have conceded nine goals in their two opening away games of the season.
Minehead: S Hutchings, C Newbold, R Gurnett, L Todd, M Mullen (c), R Binding, S Phillips, J Page, A Hall, J Groves-Furse, L Freeman
Minehead play Bridgwater Town Reserves at The Recreation Ground this Saturday, who are yet to record a point this season after five games. Chris Meredith and Guy Burns return to the squad after serving suspensions.
Wednesday 24th August 2011
MINEHEAD (0) 2 ST GEORGE EASTON IN GORDANO (0) 0
Minehead recorded their
first win of the season on Wednesday evening with a 2-0 defeat over St George
Easton in Gordano. Though missing their two new signings from Porlock Rich Binding and Jack Page, the blues welcomed back
Stefan and Nick Phillips along with defender Lee Todd all of whom had not been
available the previous week.
During a fairly even first
half both sides went close to opening the scoring, firstly a Matt Cracknell shot which went just wide then a weak header by
the visitors’ Simon Riggs who was well placed was competently saved by Chris
Meredith. After a free kick from Stefan Phillips was fumbled by visiting keeper
Craig Smith a deep cross from Matt Cracknell after a
flowing move down the left was met at the far post by Andy Hall whose header
came back off the underside of the crossbar but was scrambled away. Nick
Phillips was tackled as he was about to shoot, and with defences seemingly
controlling most attacks Mike Mullen almost opened the scoring when he headed
just over the crossbar from a corner kick.
The second half saw the
visitors start to take the initiative with Thomas and Adam Bell giving Minehead
some problems, but though starting to get an upper hand for a quarter of an
hour the visitors did not look like breaking the deadlock. After Adam Bell had
shot wide Thomas Bell broke through the defence but Meredith was good enough to
block the attempt. On the hour a fierce shot from Thomas Bell went over the bar.
Rob Gurnett replaced Ben Flatley for the home team and this
seemed to spark new life into the blues. Luke Freeman hit the crossbar then
with 15 minutes remaining Matt Cracknell headed home
from close range to open Minehead’s account in the
league this season. The relief was plain to see on the home side, and the final
quarter of an hour saw them play their best league
football to date. Nick Phillips doubled the advantage on 82 minutes when his
strong shot from twelve yards was too ogood for
keeper Craig Smith and Minehead finished the match in control.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, M Cracknell (1), L Todd, M Mullen (c), J.Browning, S Phillips, N Phillips (1), A Hall, B Flatley, L Freeman
Subs: J Groves-Furse (11,80mins), R Addicott (9, 86mins), R Gurnett (10,67mins), L Bloys (Not Used)
Saturday 20th August
LANGFORD ROVERS 2000 (2) 4 MINEHEAD (0) 0
Minehead lost their second game of the season last Saturday when they were given a goal-scoring lesson by Levi Marlow, whose hat-trick was principally the difference between the two sides. As in the opening game of the season Minehead’s inability in front of goal caused their downfall and whilst play was relatively even in terms of possession the home side were always likely to win after goals in the 18th and 35th minute had put them firmly in command.
The visitors started brightly and dangerous crosses from Luke Freeman and Matt Cracknell flashed inches in front their intended team-mates coming to nothing. Langford Rovers, who have won their opening two games, soon showed they are again likely to be one of the league’s top scoring sides with strikers Levi Marlow and the much travelled Ryan Havard who has played at several levels higher, caused the blues problems with their pace and link-up play. After 18 minutes Minehead defender Mike Mullen appeared to be impeded whilst attempting to clear an Olly Bliss corner, leaving Levi Marlow a free header which he executed perfectly to beat Meredith and open the scoring.
In reply Minehead attacked
with most of the danger coming down the left flank where Flatley and Cracknell
linked up well, and Rob Gurnett almost levelled the scoring but his toe-poke
from twelve yards was not good enough to beat seasoned midfielder Jamie Crandon
who this season has decided to take position between the goalposts.
Just after the half hour
the home side doubled their advantage when hesitation in the defence meant that
Marlow had plenty of time to pick his shot and competently scored from just
outside the box.
The start of the second
half saw Minehead making a concerted effort to get back into the game but
chances went begging. Jack Groves-Furse, as a makeshift centre forward, went
close from Rob Gurnett’s cross, then a good run from Luke Freeman saw him
supply Matt Cracknell with an accurate cross but his right footed swivel shot
went agonisingly over the bar.
Keeper Chris Meredith kept
the blues in the hunt with two fine saves, the first from the lively Levi
Marlow, and Minehead introduced fresh legs upfront in the form of Ross Addicott
who replaced Jack Groves-Furse and then Jack Page for Luke Freeman. Jack Page
went close from a Ben Flatley free kick but with four minutes remaining and
Minehead pressing for the elusive goal Marlow was put through the heart of the
Minehead rearguard with a fine defence splitting ball and he sped through and
side-footed confidently home to complete his hat-trick and put the game out of
the blues’ reach.
In the final minutes the
home side nearly turned the game into a goal rout which would bear little
resemblance to the play, but Ryan Havard’s shot came back off the inside of the
post and a minute later he blasted high over the bar when well placed. In time
added on by the substitute referee Meredith brought down Joe Ellis and almost
atoned by getting a hand to James Marshall’s thunderbolt penalty kick, but the
ball made it’s way into the net and Minehead finished
well beaten by four clear goals.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, R Gurnett, M Mullen (c), A Hall, J.Browning, B Flatley, R Binding, J Groves-Furse, M Cracknell, L Freeman
Subs: R Addicott (9, 68mins),
J Page (11, 74mins)
Minehead have no game this weekend as the originally scheduled fixture with neighbours Watchet Town has been moved to a christmas holiday match.
Saturday 13th August 2011
MINEHEAD (0) 0 ASHTON & BACKWELL UTD (1) 2
Minehead made a disappointing start to this season’s County League campaign, when they entertained one of last season’s better sides Ashton & Backwell United. With individual performances not reaching a high standard, too many stray passes meant possession was lost far too easily, and a goal in each half saw the visitors take both points quite comfortably although for long periods there was not much to choose between the two sides.
As early as the second minute there were signs that Minehead’s defence would not be in charge of proceedings when several players seemed to freeze and allowed centre forward Joe Parsons a glorious chance to open the scoring when he found himself unmarked with the ball at his feet just outside the six yard box, but having rushed his flick the ball went the wrong side of the upright and the blues were off the hook for the time being.
Jack Groves-Furse, who looked Minehead’s best striker for the opening half causing problems with his direct running at defenders, created an opening for himself after six minutes but his snap shot from the edge of the box went wide. However with Parsons looking dangerous in the air, it was the visitors who looked more likely to open the scoring and after Chris Meredith had done well to block a close range effort, Joe Parsons rose well to meet Connor Biggins’ perfect free kick and his well placed header gave Meredith little chance.
Meredith again came to the blues rescue, saving a shot from Biggins, then Parsons beat Meredith in a race for the ball, but his effort went wide of the goal-frame.
Minehead however burst into life on the half hour and had their best spell during the final 15 minutes of the first half. A fierce shot from Stefan Phillips went just over the bar, and Rob Gurnett stole in on the blind side but his header beat the advancing keeper but went narrowly wide. The final action of the half saw another strong drive from playmaker Stefan Phillips was kept at bay by MacFarlane in the visitors’ goal.
Early in the second half Minehead were fortunate when Joe Parsons’ shot hit Chris Newbold on the goal-line and an accurate free kick from Jack Dicker was expertly pushed over the bar by Meredith. Ricky Briggs then broke clear of the blues defence but shot straight at Meredith.
With 20 minutes remaining Minehead used their first substitute when Jack Page replaced Jack Groves-Furse but two minutes later disaster struck when Lee Todd’s header back to Chris Meredith evaded the keepers’ reach and with Ricky Briggs reacting quickly the recovering Meredith pulled him back by the arm and referee Darren Cullum had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick for the infringement. The guilty goalkeeper was shown a red card for his actions, and with defender Chris Newbold taking over between the sticks, Ricky Briggs shot home to double his side’s advantage.
Minehead’s 10 men pressed hard for the remaining minutes with fresh legs in the form of Ross Addicott and James Browning who replaced Nick Phillips and Luke Freeman, but with time running out the closest they came to scoring being a swift snap-shot on the turn from Rich Binding going inches over the joint of the post and crossbar with the keeper appearing beaten.
Though Minehead showed reasonable form during periods of the game, it will be difficult for them to beat top sides this season unless they can greatly reduce the individual errors and find more teeth amd creation in front of goal.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, M Cracknell, M Mullen (c), L Todd, S. Phillips, R Gurnett, L Freeman, N Phillips, J Groves-Furse
Minehead face their first away trip tomorrow (Saturday) when they visit Langford Rovers 2000 in Weston, who like Ashton and Backwell United beat Minehead twice last season. On Wednesday however they return to The Recreation Ground to face St George Easton in Gordano, who Minehead completed a league double over last season. Kick off for the floodlit match on Wednesday is at 7.45pm.
Saturday 6th August 2011
MINEHEAD 8 PORTVILLE WARRIORS 0
Minehead’s final pre-season friendly saw them convincingly beat Bristol based Portville Warriors by a resounding 8-0 scoreline. Not knowing quite what to expect from their opposition, who have won promotion in three of their last four seasons and now play in Bristol & District League Division 2, the blues scored 4 times in a twelve minute spell early in the first half, and this killed off any aspirations the Warriors had of adding the scalp of a County League team to their list, having beaten St George Easton in Gordano in a friendly last season.
In the first minute Minehead almost took the lead when captain Mike Mullen headed wide from a cross, and with the visitors looking a little off the pace of the match, it was Minehead who made all the early running. Home supporters did not have long to wait for the opening goal, as after ten minutes Nick Phillips scored when he found a gap in the home defence and ran through to comfortably beat the exposed keeper with a right foot shot. Jack Groves-Furse added to the scoreline six minutes later, when he struck home a loose ball from six yards after the keeper had saved a shot from Nick Phillips. Three minutes later Matt Cracknell scored what was undoubtedly the goal of the game when he collected the ball midway into the visitors’ half and from a central position struck a superb left foot shot into the top corner giving the overworked goalkeeper no chance. Then three minutes after Cracknell’s strike, Luke Freeman was presented with an opportunity and from six yards out blasted a low shot home.
To their credit, a shell shocked Portville side did come close to scoring when Chris Meredith was called into action to save from Ian Weston. A triple substitution by the blues was followed by Chris Meredith again coming to their rescue when he blocked a close range effort. In the last minute of the first half Guy Burns headed against the post.
Six minutes into the second half Minehead’s man of the match James Browning crowned a fine performance by fiercely striking home a loose ball from just inside the box to make it 5-0. A slimline Ross Addicott scored the next two goals, firstly bundling a loose ball in from close range and then deflecting a shot from Luke Bloys beyond the keeper.
Minehead twice made triple substitutions during the second half but their command on the game was never in doubt and last season’s top scorer Luke Freeman finished the scoring with the eighth goal seven minutes from time, again scoring with a low shot.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, M Cracknell, P.Smyth, M Mullen, N Phillips, S. Phillips, L Bloys, J Groves-Furse, L Freeman, J Browning Subs: R Binding, J Page, R Gurnett, G Burns, R Addicott (All Used)
Minehead start their league programme tomorrow (Saturday) when they host Ashton and Backwell United. Kick off is at 3pm.
Tuesday 2nd August 2011
MINEHEAD 1 TAUNTON TOWN 2
(By Rowland Lyons)
TAUNTON got back to winning ways with a last-gasp victory at Irnham Road on Tuesday evening in their sixth pre-season friendly.
Goals from Alex Pounde and Danny Lane saw the visitors home after Minehead – four games into their pre-season - had led for 73 minutes after Chris Newbold’s opener.
Minehead-based keeper, Connor Sidley-Adams, was called into action after only 21 seconds when Luke Cole’s poor back pass only reached Jack Groves-Furse, who saw his point-blank effort turned away.
Sidley-Adams then made a superb tip-over to deny a Matt Cracknell piledriver on 11 minutes after Newbold had seen his free-kick blocked by the Taunton wall.
The home side’s pressure paid off and they took the lead on 12 minutes when the visiting defence switched off from Rob Gurnett’s corner-kick, which found Luke Freeman, who played in Newbold to coolly beat Sidley-Adams at his near post.
Minehead coped better with the bumpy surface and Freeman wasted a great chance to double their tally from Jack Adams’s poor 28th minute back pass – but blazed wide with only the keeper to beat.
Sidley-Adams was called into action four minutes before the break and made another good stop to deny Steffan Phillip’s long range drive, before Taunton finally hit back and Craig Carr was unlucky to see his full-blooded volley fly wide.
Taunton ended the half on top and should have equalized, but fit-again Aaron Blakemore sliced wide from six yards.
A more purposeful Taunton – having made nine substitutions at the break - had their County League opponents stretched with Andy Butler and Pounde going close.
But, an impressive Minehead looked the likelier to score and kept Taunton in their own half for long periods, before Lane unhinged the home side with a shot that keeper Chris Meredith nearly fumbled the ball over his own line – and had skipper Mike Mullen to thank for a last-ditch clearance.
The Peacocks finally levelled on 85 minutes when Lane found Pounde, who drilled past Meredith from 10 yards.
Town’s unlikely victory was complete two minutes from time – from the move of the match – when Darren Rice’s overlapping run and cross fed Simon Ingram, who found Lane, whose deflected effort beat the unlucky Meredith from inside the box.
Minehead: Chris Meredith – Rich Binding, Matt Cracknell, Lee Todd, Mike Mullen, Ross Addicott, Steffan Phillips, Chris Newbold, Jack Groves-Furse, Luke Freeman, Rob Gurnett. Subs (all used): Royston Green, Jack Page, Nick Phillips, James Browning, Brian Hall, Guy Burns, Luke Bloys.
Taunton Town: Connor Sidley Adams – Luke Cole (sub. Danny Lane 46 mins), Chris McGrath, Phil Veal (Tim Legg 46), Jack Adams (Darren Rice 46) – Aaron Blakemore (Jon Vance 46), Craig Carr (Andy Butler 46), Simon Stone (Simon Ingram 46), Tom Hopkins (Jamie Short 46, Phil Veal 65) – Raiff Plant (Alex Pounde 46), James Blake (Ross MacNab 46).
Referee: Mr Mike Hall (Wellington).
Saturday 30th July 2011
MINEHEAD 0 WORCESTER CITY 9
Minehead were given a sharp lesson in football last Saturday by a particularly impressive Worcester City side, who play no fewer than five levels higher than their West Somerset counterparts.
With Minehead giving away two sloppy goals in the opening 8 minutes following uncharacteristic defensive errors by Lee Todd, the writing was clearly on the wall. Both opportunities were snapped up confidently by Luke Corbett, though it was centre forward Marc McGregor who was particularly catching the eye with some exquisite positional play and off the ball movement the likes of which have not been seen at The Rec for many years. It was later learnt that the player had been transferred twice during his far from over career for £60,000 fees. A measure of the quality of the opposition was that he is currently regarded as Worcester’s fifth choice striker! The team also included an Irish international and another player who had played Premiership football.
To Minehead’s credit they competed well throughout the first half – in between the two early reverses Matt Cracknell worked an opening but shot over the bar, then just after going two down Stefan Phillips’ attempt from 10 yards went just wide of the post with the keeper seemingly beaten. On the half hour Guy Burns had a shot saved, but shortly after McGregor worked an opening and scored competently from the edge of the box with a crisp shot.
After the break the visitors turned it up a notch or two, fielding their strongest line-up which included an even more effective striker in substitute Mike Symons who made mincemeat of the blues’ tiring and overworked defence. Within two minutes of coming on he had made it four by latching on to a defence splitting pass from Simon Brown, and the goals flowed freely throughout a one-sided second half which saw Worcester give a sublime exhibition of efficient use of the ball and absolutely clinical finishing. Simon Brown netted a penalty after a foul by Minehead captain Mike Mullen then Symons broke through the defence to notch his second.
Minehead did manage a few chances and Jack Page broke through the heart of the Conference side’s defence but in a one on one with the keeper shot over the bar. Matt Cracknell then produced a perfectly executed “Paul Scholes” style volley from outside the box which was well saved. Royston Green caused another penalty to be awarded, from which Symons blasted his hat-trick and a long cross from Danny Edwards found it’s way into the net to record the eighth. Finally Asa Charlton scored his side’s ninth with the goal of the game - a left footed shot from 30 yards which curled into the top corner giving Meredith absolutely no chance.
The blues managed to avoid conceding any further goals in the final 14 minutes of play, thus keeping the score line down to a single figure.
Minehead: C Meredith, C Newbold, M Cracknell, R Binding, M Mullen, L Freeman, S. Phillips, G.Burns, J Groves-Furse, L.Todd, L.Bloys Subs: C Yeates, J Page, R Gurnett, R Green, J Browning