Southwest Peninsula League East Division
Ilfracombe Town 2 – Axminster Town 4
THE Tigers made the long trip to North Devon missing Cameron Vere (illness), Callum Garrett and Skipper Darren Hutchings (unavailable), but welcomed back university students Jacob Rowe, George Haywood and Aaron Daniels
The Bluebirds of Ilfracombe found themselves one up within three minutes after a neat cross from Jamie Mirow that found top goal scorer Sam Box at the far post who powerfully headed home from four yards out.
Axminster hit back immediately with Tony Pinder latching onto a through ball from Ashley Small. Pinder neatly rounded the home keeper Jamie Matthews and placed home.
The remainder of the half was a good spectacle but failed to produce any additional clear-cut goal scoring opportunities as both defences were playing exceptionally well. For ‘Combe Brodie Montague had a fine half and for the Tigers Rowe was pulling all the midfield strings.
Axminster made some minor tweaks to their formation after the break and this played dividends as on the 60th minute. The normally impeccable Mathews in the home goal made a complete hash of a back pass, totally missing the ball and this allowed Pinder to nip in and tuck the ball home.
Five minutes later Matthews came for a cross and caught the ball but then bumped into one of his own players and this dislodged the ball which fell invitingly to the feet of Connor Swingler who riffled it home to make it 1-3.
By now Axminster were firmly in control as the home side seemed deflated, on the 70th minute Ilfracombe again shot themselves in the foot after giving away a needless penalty. Up stepped the league’s top scorer Pinder who sent Matthews the wrong way to claim his 22nd league goal in the process.
The Bluebirds deserve a lot of credit as they took the game to the Tigers. After a rash challenge by Ax’s Connor Hannaford in the penalty area that gave Combe a life line, but the spot kick was dragged wide.
‘Combe continued to push and press for a goal, on the 85th minute Tigers keeper Smith made a terrific save tipping a long range drive over the bar that was destined for the top corner. From the resultant set piece CJ Roberts beat Tigers Nathan Antat to the ball and headed with ease past the stranded Smith to give a more respectable full-time score line.
Man of The Match – Tony Pinder