THREE local football sides look forward to fascinating midweek tests across Tuesday and Wednesday.
Buckland Athletic play hosts to Ilfracombe Town tonight (Tuesday) in what will be their fourth home fixture in succession.
A good start to the season across all competitions has seen Buckland fall to defeat on just one occasion from four as Saltash United snatched a late 1-0 win at Homers Heath on Saturday. Ryan Bush looks to be the go-to man for goals this season with three from three appearances for the Bucks.
Looking ahead to the game, Bucks boss Dan Hart said: ‘I’ve spoken vigorously to the players about how they must respond to setbacks and, after the losing to Saltash, tonight will be a chance to show how we bounce back against a team that is fast but young.’
Ilfracombe remain unbeaten from their four competitive ties in the campaign. A draw on opening day and a 4-2 win over Keynsham Town on Saturday places them 11th in the Western League. The Bluebirds booked their place in the next round of the FA Cup, too, as they beat Sherborne Town 2-0 on the second time of asking after a 1-1 draw in the initial staging.
Just down the road, Newton Abbot Spurs welcome in-form Okehampton Argyle to the Recreation Ground. Spurs have appeared in league action only once this term when points were shared as they drew 2-2 on their visit to Crediton United.
Okehampton come into the tie with the wind in their sails as they boast three wins from their first three ties. Second-placed Argyle are one of just two sides who are yet to concede this season and much of it can be drawn up to the discipline in the camp as Okehampton’s ranks are without a single booking in their opening bouts.
Attention then turns to Wednesday, as Bovey Tracey entertain Teignmouth at the Western Counties Roofing Ground for the first time since October 2018.
Upon their return to the South West Peninsula League, Teignmouth are very much in the ascendency. The first hurdle for the Teigns was to head West to Plymouth Marjon, where they came from two goals behind to win 3-2. On his only appearance this season, Ashley Donohue bagged all three of Teignmouth’s goals and secured a dream return to Step 6.
Liam Jones’ side followed up their opening day success with a 2-0 win over Holsworthy on Saturday. Next up is a trip to Bovey Tracey. ‘It’s an exciting prospect,’ admitted Teigns manager Jones. ‘These are the types of grounds we want to go to and games we want to play in.
‘It will be a difficult one – no disrespect at all to Bovey but the team we play on Wednesday might not be the same one that played on Saturday.
‘That’s not to belittle the way they do things at all. Will [Small] will have his players fired-up and well organised. We just have to focus on ourselves.’
Things have been much bleaker at the foot of Hay Tor, as Bovey Tracey have taken just three points from a difficult start to the season. An opening day win against Cullompton Rangers appeared to set the Moorlanders in good stead for the difficult week to come, but a midweek trip to Brixham saw them thrashed 4-0. On Saturday, another side fancied for the league in Axminster Town left Bovey Tracey with all three points.
Following the defeat to Axminster, Bovey Tracey manager Will Small said: ‘I don’t think we were really doing anything wrong, other than cutting out those silly little mistakes; dawdling on the ball, wrong people taking the free-kicks, slightly out of position, the slip-over – you can’t account for those sorts of things or cut them out, they’re accidents that happen.
‘But footballing-wise, we played some good stuff, we created lots of chances, got in the final third but we just weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal and that final ball was just lacking. If we get that right, in a minute we will turn things around quickly. There’s plenty of positives to take, certainly, so we’re not down in the dumps about it.’
Each match kicks off at 7.30pm