Willand Rovers Res 2, Budleigh Res 1

There are probably two particular words that will ring most appropriately in talks between followers of Budleigh Salterton Reserves, ‘if only’, come the end of the current campaign, writes SpursTom.

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Those two words apply to a number of contest this Fresha League season and once again they were to the fore at Silver Street, Willand where the Robins really did not deserve to slip to defeat.

The outstanding play, particularly in a midfield lead by Josh Sale, during Budleigh Salterton’s domination of the opening 45 minutes, produced several chances including two outstanding saves by the Rovers glovesman.

Whilst at the other end, the defence made sure that Jordan Hockold was hardly troubled.

It was he who played a major part in the only goal of the half, a foul was committed in his area, he took the free kick which fell nicely for Callum Shipton who took two strides before executing the perfect lob which sailed over the keeper before dipping just under the crossbar and into the net.

This, on the stroke of half time, meant the visitors went in the dressing room in a buoyant mood.

Willand Rovers, as expected, came out after the interval raring to go. It was now up to the Robins defence to show their mettle, they seemed to be coping until a penalty was awarded against them on 55 minutes.

However, lady luck smiled on them as the takers spot kick struck the post and to cannoned off to safety. Both sides introduced substitutes and chances were fashioned, and wasted, at both ends.

The home side opted to play with three up top and, with barely five minutes remaining, bagged an equaliser through Ryan Gibbs.

Sadly there was further anguish for the Budleigh faithful when, in added time, the ball fell to Lee Hawton who had found time and space in a crowded area to plant the ball to the left of the keeper and into the net, with it making a 2–1 winning margin to the hosts.

The final whistle sounded, leaving the men from East Devon to question why did it go wrong or perhaps thinking “if only!2

The only consolation for the Robins is that all five of the basement sides in the Fresha League lost, so there is still a fighting chance however slim given that the Greenway Lane outfit have played more games than any of their opponents.

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