A SECOND half brace from Ollie Aplin helped Bovey Tracey to a 3-1 win over Teignmouth in a fascinating clash at Mill Marsh Park last night.
Youngster Luke Manuell had given the hosts an early lead, with Aplin’s double coming off the back of some growing Teignmouth pressure either side of half-time.
Midfielder Ryan Tresidder curled in a delightful injury time consolation for the visiting side.
Bovey came inches away from taking the lead with eight minutes gone when Lewis Perring’s dipping cross-cum-shot thumped the underside of Zach Lee’s crossbar.
Two minutes later Lee would be picking the ball out of his net for the first time – some fantastic build-up play resulting in Mitch Thomas’ floated cross being flicked in by the head of Manuell.
A tense encounter boiled over just after the half-hour mark when Bovey’s Will Allen caught Lewis Plackett with a late challenge – referee Will Bennett deciding that a yellow card was punishment enough.
Just before half-time Teignmouth spurned a gilt-edged chance to get back on level terms when Isaac Reed’s cross was headed wide by the unmarked Omar Nyang from three yards out.
The Teigns upped the ante after the break and hit the woodwork for the first time themselves just before the hour.
Scott Baxter rose highest from a corner and saw his header cannon back off the crossbar, with the resulting penalty box pinball eventually ending up in Dom Aplin’s gloves.
The Bovey stopper’s far post also took a hammering shortly before his side gave themselves breathing space in the 73rd minute.
Perring’s clearance was controlled by substitute Tom Burt, who strode forward and played a defence-splitting ball through for Aplin to apply a calm finish.
Five minutes later Aplin was at it again – a rogue linesman’s flag appeared to confuse the Teignmouth back-line and the striker took full advantage to notch his fourth of the season. Baxter’s protests in the aftermath saw him sent for a 10-minute cool-off.
Burt and impressive young midfielder Tom Mortimore forced some heroic late goalkeeping from Lee before Tresidder drove at the Bovey defence, cut in and curled sumptuously beyond Aplin deep into injury time.
After back-to-back defeats against Brixham and Axminster, Bovey boss Will Small was pleased to put a stop to his side’s barren run.
‘We were up for it from the get-go tonight,’ said Small. ‘Obviously we were missing Finn [Roberts] so there was a bit of a change in personnel.
‘Luke [Manuell] has come in and done really well, as have all the young lads. I think we played some really good football tonight.
‘Anybody watching that first goal – if you see that in the Premier League on a Saturday I think you’d be happy with it. It was a great goal, everybody touched the ball before it’s ended up in the back of the net.
‘On top of that we’re creating a lot of chances. We’re still missing a lot of chances, but tonight we put a couple away and it probably could have been more, really.
‘It was disappointing to concede at the end but I’m really happy to get the three points.’
Small singled out youngsters Manuell, Burt and Mortimore for specific praise – as well as two-goal centre-forward Aplin.
‘It makes a hell of a difference if you’ve got options on the bench who can come on and change a game,’ Small added.
‘Luke worked his socks off for an hour and got his goal, then Burty has come on with his quality of passing and put a great ball through to Ollie for the second.
‘Tom has come on at 16 years old again and dominated the midfield. He was unlucky not to have got a couple of goals himself.
‘On another day in the last couple of games Ollie scores four goals. He’s been pretty unlucky, but tonight he took his goals well and he’s annoyed in the changing room because he could have had a couple more!’
As for Teignmouth it was a disappointing first defeat of the season after a positive start – and manager Liam Jones was far from pleased.
‘I thought we were poor and I think that the result is deserved,’ Jones admitted. ‘Our attitudes, dedication and work-rate weren’t right – all of the stuff that you build a promotion-winning side on.
‘And that’s a shame because this is a wonderful set-up with good pitch and we’ve sacked it off. It’s not acceptable, it comes from senior players and that won’t continue.’
And he added: ‘That’s a real welcome to the Peninsula League. You’ve got a side who are struggling to win games, who who are young, fit and energetic and they’ve out-worked us. They’ve done the basics of football better than we have.
‘When that happens it doesn’t matter how good you are, you just can’t win football matches – certainly not at this level.
‘We need to take that on board very quickly, because no disrespect to Bovey but I think there will be some tougher tests to come.
‘If we can’t get it right then we could be in for a season of real struggles. We’ve got to realign where we think we should be.
‘If we think that we’re a top half side then based on that performance we’re nowhere near that.’