Devon and Exeter League: Alphington 4, Wellington Reserves 2

The Reserves contended with yet further enforced changes for their trip to Alphington and suffered a disappointing defeat against confident opponents. 

With a late call-up for Liam Thorne and a last-minute withdrawal from father to be Ash Saunders, the side had another unfamiliar look to their lineup as they took the field. 

However, all seemed positive in the opening exchanges. Thorne grabbed a debut goal after only 15 seconds. From the home side’s kick off, Darren Mace robbed their left winger and fed the ball to Ollie Nott. He danced past a couple players before feeding Thorne in space on the right. He collected the pass well and cooly passed the ball past the onrushing keeper for an early lead. 

The advantage proved to be a false dawn and was short lived. After a couple of warnings, the home side were back on level terms just seven minutes later. A poor clearance – of which there were many – landed straight at the feet of opposing player 25 yards out. He fired in a seemingly tame low shot which crept inside the post. 

The Reserves were their own worst enemies, endlessly giving the ball away, with little communication and assertiveness. The less said about the first half the better as Alphington went in 2-1 up at half-time thanks to another poorly conceded goal. 

After the restart, things didn’t improve much until the final 20 minutes. But by this time, Wellington were 4-1 down thanks two more disappointing home goals, one of which came during a ten-minute period of playing with ten men after Tom Davies had been sin-binned for dissent. 

With Davies returning for the final 20 minutes, a personnel and formation change saw Wellington finally play the football. Robbie Broomhead came into central midfield three with Dan Woodgate wide right. 

Their consolation goal was a deserved reflection of their improvement. With eight minutes remaining, Dave Darch spotted the keeper off his line. He perfectly hit a shot from a yard inside his own half which flew without deviation over the keeper, kissing the back of the net as it dropped just under the bar. A truly wonderful goal. 

The game finished with Wellington on top but beaten … and unfortunately the masters of their all downfall.