It’s beginning to look like crunch time this Saturday as Exmouth Town welcome fellow strugglers Bashley to their Circle of Care Community Stadium, kick off 3pm, writes John Dibsdall.

Bashley are currently six points above Town with a game in hand having drawn 1-1 with Evesham last Saturday. They then have four home games, including Town on February 27 and two ‘six-pointers’ against Paulton Rovers at home on February 17 and away on March 9.

Paulton lost 2-1 at Tavistock and remain five points ahead of Town but with an inferior goal difference. The games on the last day of the league season, April 27, could be make or break, as Town are home to Paulton whilst Bashley travel to Westbury, who may also need points to avoid relegation.

All of that would be mere conjecture unless Town start winning games, as they suffered their fifteenth league loss of the season when they were beaten 3-0 at Malvern Town last Saturday.

Town were indebted to two fine saves by Chris Wright before he was beaten by a well-struck free kick in the 35th minute. Town had chances to score through Aarron Denny and Ethan Slater, who was denied by a fine save, before Malvern added a second in yet another controversial penalty decision that went against Town.

This time, debutant Joe Belsten, signed from Plymouth Parkway, was adjudged to have impeded a player and as Town struggled to establish a foothold in the game, Malvern went on to add a third.

For the other Devon club in this division, Willand Rovers suffered a 2-1 defeat at Larkhall Athletic. Charlie Wright had levelled for Willand but they were beaten by a goal 12 minutes from time, putting a hefty dent in their play-off aspirations.  

Town’s hopes of winning some silverware this season, via the St. Lukes Bowl, were extinguished when they went down 2-1 to Newton Abbot Spurs last Tuesday. Town made the perfect start with Denny scoring after four minutes but the home side equalised three minutes later from the penalty spot.

A splendid strike six minutes into the second half proved to be the winner, although the home ‘keeper made two splendid saves to prevent the tie going to a penalty shoot-out.