Teignmouth raise the curtains on Teignbridge’s weekend of action with a Friday-night trip to Torridgeside in the South West Peninsula League Premier Division East (7.30pm KO).
Both teams come into the match having last played Sidmouth Town. Not even a lengthy floodlight malfunction could stop Teignmouth on Tuesday night as they beat Sidmouth 1-0. Torridgeside battled to a thrilling 3-3 draw with the Vikings.
Torridgeside have four points from four games, leaving them 13th in the standings. A 4-0 win on opening day was followed by a pair of defeats in which they drew a blank in both, but a fighting draw with Sidmouth suggests that the ship is gradually being steadied.
Teignmouth have been the surprise package in the division so far this season, storming to third place after five games upon their return to the Peninsula League. Defeat to Bovey Tracey marked the midpoint of the Teigns’ opening five but it was certainly an anomaly as four wins - two either side of it - have come in that period.
Ahead of the game, Teigns boss Liam Jones said: ‘We’re looking forward to it and we are in a positive mindset after our start to the season so it should be good and it will be tough.
‘It’s not an easy place to go and we’ve not been there for a few years so I’m sure it improved vastly since we last visited but the logistics of trying to get to North Devon on a Friday after work for bank holiday weekend, I’m not quite sure what that is going to throw at us but we’ll deal with it.’
A major boost for Teignmouth is the recent return of Ash Donohue, who has been firing on all cylinders since his return to the squad. Donohue got the all-important winner against Sidmouth and sits at a remarkable five goals from three appearances. Expect him to thrive against what has been a frail Torridgeside defence.
‘There’s an expectation from us and Ash that he goes into every game expecting to score goals - he’s the talisman of the side, so I wouldn’t expect [Friday] to be any different.
‘Ash loves scoring goals and that’s ultimately all he wants to do so we need to ensure that we try and get him in the right areas of the football pitch and provide him with the ammo and will just carry on doing what he’s been doing so far this season.’
Attention then turns to Saturday as Bovey Tracey get their FA Vase campaign under way against Newquay (3pm KO).
The two sides contested a pre-season friendly at the same venue - the Western Counties Roofing Ground - back in July, where it finished 1-0 to the visiting Cornishmen. But an indicator of fortunes it was not, as Newquay have not won a competitive bout since. A 1-1 draw with Bude Town on opening day yielded the only point on the Peppermints’ tally so far, with losses to Wendron United and Penzance following in what has been a poor August.
Bovey Tracey have six points from their opening six matches, by way of two 3-1 wins. A pair of defeats in the run up to this weekend’s Vase tie and a whole host of injuries will be of concern to the Moorlanders faithful.
‘We played them in pre-season and they beat us 1-0 down there,’ recalled Bovey boss Will Small. ‘Unfortunately we’re carrying three or four injuries and have a couple of people away.
‘But it’s at home and it’s a cup game on a nice pitch. You’d like to think that the lads will be up for it and we can have enough to get ourselves into the next round and get a little run going.’
‘I fancy us - I always fancy us - but I think my lads need to stay grounded and not fancy themselves all the time, they need to just get their heads down and work hard.’
That is the message from Newton Abbot Spurs boss Marc Revell as his side travel to Somerset on Saturday to take on Radstock Town in the FA Vase First Qualifying Round (3pm KO).
On paper, it looks to be a very winnable encounter for Spurs as their hosts are yet to record a win this season. With eight games in the books already, Radstock have twice drawn and on six occasions tasted defeat, all to the tune of a -12 goal difference. But Revell insists that his opposition should not be counted out.
‘They’re Western League Division One,’ Revell said. ‘So it is hard to gauge. It’s not worth looking at Radstock’s league performances because it’s the Vase and what happens on the day with two unknown entities playing each other, you haven’t got a clue.
‘Our standards might drop or raise, as might Radstock’s, so I think it’ll be a tough unknown entity, going up there, but I back my lads against anyone.’
Spurs got back to winning ways on Tuesday night after victory over Bovey Tracey. Revell’s men have had a mixed bag of results from a tricky opening run of fixtures, but they have come through it with only one loss to their name, which came by way of a narrow 2-1 defeat to Axminster Town.
Five defeats and a draw have plagued Radstock’s August, with four straight losses coming into this weekend’s meeting. In the last seven days alone, the Miners have leaked seven goals. Down the other end of the field, Kieran Cooper looks to be the man to keep an eye on as he has three goals on his tally from six appearances.
Spurs manager Revell will be absent from the touchline on Saturday but believes that will not affect his players.
‘If you instil the right things in your team, the manager does not always need to be there,’ Revell explained. ‘So that’s where it’ll be nice for my team. My brother [Simon Revell] will step in with Jimmy Clutton, who assisted me in coaching, so the team will run itself quite happily and we’ll discuss the formation, the setup and the players.
‘Providing we win, it’s good for the lads to have a break from me.’
Buckland Athletic hit the road again on Saturday as they visit table-footing Keynsham Town in the Western League (3pm KO).
Buckland have enjoyed a great start to the season. Sitting eighth with three wins from five to their tally, the Bucks are coming off the back of two 3-0 losses - firstly to Frome Town in the FA Cup and more recently Shepton Mallet in regular league play.
The game offers a real chance for Buckland to right the wrongs of Tuesday’s trip to Shepton Mallet, as struggling Keynsham have just one point on the board at the cost of a -23 goal difference. Home has not been a happy place for the K’s, having scored three and conceded 14 in their three outings at Crown Fields. But Hart is eager for his squad to treat this game like any other.
But Buckland have not beaten Keynsham since September 2020, and this very fixture last season saw a 2-1 win in favour of the Somerset side.
Buckland manager Dan Hart said: ‘Saturday presents us with a really good opportunity to get back to winning ways.
‘We’ve had a really challenging last seven days with the teams that we faced and the performances we’ve put in and also to the journeys of personnel in our squad. I think that’s helped us to come together a little bit.
‘For the next week or so we’re still working with a smaller group than we have been used to for the early part of the season but we still believe completely in the players that are available and will be looking to go up to Keynsham on Saturday and put in a display that is much more fitting to the effort levels that we’ve put in to this group and hopefully come away with a win.
‘When you’ve lost two games - one being in the FA Cup and one a very difficult league away trip - it would be very easy for us to get carried away and think about the negatives,’ Hart said. ‘But we’ve taken lots of learning from those two games and I think that, regardless of opposition on Saturday, we will be ready to show a reaction.
‘There will be absolutely no element of complacency in our group.’