Bonaparte will be happy to hand back the gloves
BOVEY TRACEY manager Roger Bonaparte admits he does not want to repeat the experience of going in goal after a narrow defeat against Ivybridge Town last weekend, writes Andy Phillips.
Bonaparte picked up the gloves after Tom Brooks was sent off for clattering a Bridgers forward after just 20 minutes last Saturday.
Jason Cordice had put the hosts 1-0 up after just two minutes of the match – believed to be a new club record – before Brooks saw red for the challenge.
Ivybridge put the penalty wide but did find an equaliser only to be stifled by Bovey for the remainder of the half.
Bonaparte's side did not fall apart after the break and even took the lead through Jared Lewington before two late goals contrived to rob the hosts of a deserved point.
The player-manager himself even earned some plaudits for his performance in goal.
"I came off my line for corners a couple of times, made a couple of saves and my kicking wasn't too bad – and the players decided to vote me as man of the match," said Bonaparte.
"It was comical really – Graeme Kirkup was embarrassed for his side as we were a man short and with a forward in goal, and they still couldn't score.
"But my players did themselves proud and the club proud."
Bonaparte said the experience of going in goal was a 'scary' one and not something he relished the thought of repeating.
"I'm no Tom Brooks," added Bonaparte. "He is a fantastic goalkeeper and it was so scary looking at the match from that perspective and having to deal with corners. I take my hat off to Tom as to do it week in week out is not easy."
Bovey were missing a raft of players last weekend including centre-halves Ben Head and Ed Plackett, plus Matty Bear and Kieran Light.
All are expected to return for Saturday's trip to Saltash United's Kimberley Stadium, but Dan Taylor and Matt Taylor are both unavailable, while Lewington will be assessed for fitness after twisting his knee.
However, Bonaparte believes the return of skipper Ben Head after a lengthy holiday is a big boost to his side. Head is likely to form a partnership with Thomas 'TJ' Lang, who has signed from Taunton Town at centre-half.
"I think if Ben Head had been with us we would have won at least two of the matches we've lost recently," said Bonaparte.
"But I still think it's been a successful September for us – we're in the FA Vase first round and got nine points under our belt.
"Saltash will be a tough game for us but our team spirit and work ethic means we're in a good state of play."
LIVERTON United manager Tony Bowker said last weekend's victory would be a real confidence-booster ahead of their home clash against Cullompton Rangers on Saturday (3pm).
Bowker's men broke their three-game losing run by beating Witheridge 2-0 at the Halford Ground last weekend, goals coming from Liam Ford's deflected free-kick and Jordan Lam's chip over the keeper.
"We needed that result," said Bowker. "Obviously we lost two league games and a cup game, and it had got to the stage that I would have been happy with a point.
"I could see the relief on the players faces – if we had lost again it would have been three league defeats on the bounce, but we've leap-frogged Witheridge in the table now."
The return of centre-halves Simon Laughton and Craig Fenner also helped Liverton keep their first clean sheet in six games – the last coming away at Cullompton in August.
Bowker said: "It was great to have Simon Laughton back – you don't realise how good a player is until they're not there. Some of the younger players had a lot more confidence because he was there."
He added: "Witheridge were a far superior side to Teignmouth playing-wise, and we lost that match 7-2 – it just shows that having proper people in proper places makes a difference."
This weekend, goalkeeper Nathan Murphy is unavailable, so Ben Hardie comes in to take his place. Wiry midfielder Nick Rudge is also away, and Stuart Bowker starts his three-game ban for a sending off against Tavistock.
Four players come back into the squad – Danny Broadway, Jack White, Dan Kingscoat and Sam Green.