Champions are out to avenge their 'basketball-style' cup loss to Hoops
KINGSKERSWELL and Chelston's visit to Loddiswell will have a little extra spice this Saturday, coming just eight days after the Hoops dumped the SDFL Premier champions out of the Devon Premier Cup.
Manager Paul Edwards likened last Friday's encounter at Coach Road to a basketball match, as the tie swung first one way and then the other before Richard Gomm's side clinched victory in the last minute, 5-4 the final score.
Edwards is determined to ensure his side will keep things tighter this time, but names an unchanged squad of 14 for the trip, defender Stephen Woodcock the only absentee.
"They're a big, physical, experienced side and it's going to take a lot for us to win down there, but we're definitely looking for the three points," said Edwards.
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A win for Loddiswell could put the Hoops into the top three, and having already claimed the scalps of both Buckland Athletic and Stoke Gabriel Reserves, could the phrase 'dark horses' become appropriate?
"We don't want to get carried away with anything," said club secretary Mike Williams. "We're a bit frustrated with the beginning of the season: we had lots of players injured and dropped points against teams we possibly shouldn't have.
"But I'd love to say that if every player was available every week then maybe we could be a dark horse."
In terms of this week's availability, Luke Broad and Phil Hatfield should be available to bolster Loddiswell's squad, while Friday's hat-trick hero Chris Smallridge will hope to inflict more misery on the visitors who remain unbeaten in the league. With all of their rivals on cup duty last weekend, Brixham AFC took the chance to storm to the summit of the Premier Division, winning 6-1 at Wall Park to emphatically complete the double over Kingsteignton Athletic.
Jay Morgan turned on the style to claim four goals, even allowing himself the luxury of a missed penalty. George Meredith netted the other two, with Anthony Matthews finding the Rams' consolation.
Brixham will hope to extend their lead at Abbotskerswell. The Abbots exacted revenge for their heavy defeat at home to Teignmouth Reserves, winning 4-3 at Coombe Valley to claim only their second win of the season. Teignmouth regroup against Kingsteignton at Broadpark on Saturday.
And there were points to prove at Moor Road, as two of the Premier's most inconsistent sides, Ipplepen Athletic and Stoke Gabriel Reserves, clashed in an afternoon interrupted by heavy downpours.
Many of the players in action were in the opposition's colours last season, and the clash was not for the faint-hearted.
After 25 minutes, Luke Chittenden's cross-cum-shot was deflected in to give Stoke the lead at the interval.
Stoke then consolidated their advantage, when a superb cross from 18 year old Mark Tobin found the head of Dan Harmer.
The result was put beyond question when, following a period of one-touch play from the visitors, James Horn whipped over a 40-yard cross to Chittenden, who headed in his second.
Stoke will hope to carry their away form to Broadley Lane as they entertain Galmpton Reserves; Ipplepen host Watts, Blake and Bearne.
To complete a rare full set of Premier fixtures, bottom club Staverton and Landscove welcome Buckland Reserves, while Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves travel to Upton.
In last weekend's Devon Premier Cup, Buckland Athletic Reserves' Josh Webber and Kain Bond were on target as Bucks won 2-1 after extra-time at North Molton.
Watts, Blake and Bearne are out though, crashing 5-1 at home to Peninsula East side Teignmouth. Dave Hodgson had equalised after 10 minutes to give on-form Wattsies hope, but Teignmouth took more of the plentiful chances at Abbrook Park. Upton Athletic also bowed out with a narrow 1-0 reverse at Devon and Exeter League champions St Martins. St Martins will host Loddiswell in Round Four.