Teenager Luke Bradford nets his first Budleigh Salterton senior goal in home defeat

PUBLISHED: 10:50 13 March 2019

Picture: Terry Life

Picture: Terry Life

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Budleigh Salterton went down 2-1 in their South West Peninsula League Eastern Division meeting with Newton Abbot Spurs, but, with a bit of better fortune, the Robins would surely have ended what is now a 16-match run without a win, writes Alan Beer.

Indeed, had leading scorer Johnny Hitchcock been present, the Robins may well have been celebrating their first win since the October 17, 3-1 success over Liverton.

Against a side that had beaten them 6-0 back in January, the Robins made a bright start and fashioned the first chance of the contest when, in the fifth minute, a cross from the left by the lively George Pannell was met by Matt Ansell, but his effort from close range was blocked on the line.

The next half hour saw end-to-end action, but with few genuine chances at either end. The deadlock was finally broken in the 36th minute when the ball found teenager Luke Bradford in the area and he showed excellent composure to take the ball round the visiting glovesman before rolling it into the net.

The lead lasted until the final minute of the half when the ball was lost in the middle third of the pitch by Budleigh and, when it was hit quickly up field, it was latched onto by Dom Osborne who fired Spurs level at the break.

Budleigh made a good start to the second half and, seven minutes in, more excellent wing play from Pannell saw the ball sent into the area where Bradford fired fractionally wide.

What proved the winning goal arrived in the 67th minute. It came when Alan Doble made what was a terrific initial save, but the power of the strike meant the ball could not be held and, when it span free, Harry Ford was quickest to react and drill it home.

In the final quarter of the contest, Budleigh boss Rick Withers, with an eye on the future, gave game time to two more of the Robins’ youngsters with Will White and Liam O’Brien given a taste of senior football.

On Saturday (March 16), Budleigh face the daunting prospect of a visit to Elmore where the match has an earlier than usual start time of 2pm.

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