In a pair of dramatic Les Phillips Cup semi-finals on Monday, extra-time was required in both fixtures, with Shepton Mallet and Buckland Athletic eventually booking their place in the Bank Holiday finale. Shepton are quickly turning into the penalty kings, with keeper Tom Easterbrook producing the heroics once more to help see off Bridgwater Town. Both sides came into the contest on the back of some fine form, and it was the visitors from Shepton who took the lead on the cusp of half-time through Joe Morgan. Bridgwater performed much better after the break, and after going close on a couple of occasions, top scorer Jack Taylor got them back on level terms when he converted Jack Jenkins’ corner. It remained 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes which set up extra-time, and the home side were given a golden opportunity to move ahead for the first time in the contest. Easterbrook hauled down Taylor in the penalty area, but the Shepton stopper redeemed himself instantly by saving Syd Camper’s penalty, with a shootout eventually needed to decide the victor. Easterbrook thwarted Mike Duffy’s spot kick, with Jenkins then missing Bridgwater’s second effort, which meant that when James Billing fired home it was Shepton who were celebrating their passage through to the final. In the other semi-final, Premier Division champions Street saw their dreams of a league-cup double diminish after they suffered a 1-0 extra-time defeat to Buckland. The only goal of the game came seven minutes into the extra 30-minute period from Charlie Johansen, with the Devon back-five able to keep their hosts at bay for 120 minutes to complete a memorable victory.
In the Premier Division on Monday evening, goals from Brad Ausden and Fletcher Williams helped Willand Rovers come from behind to defeat Longwell Green Sports 2-1, while the fixture between Brislington and Wells City ended goalless. Paul Uppington was the star of the night in the First Division, with the Ashton & Backwell frontman firing home a hat-trick during his sides 5-1 win away at Bristol Telephones. Oaklan Buck scored twice to help Bishop Sutton 3-0 to an impressive 3-0 victory over Cheddar, while Ashley Knight scored the only goal during Almondsbury’s 1-0 win over Radstock Town. Harry Turner’s solitary strike was enough for Sherborne Town to claim a 1-0 win away at Wincanton Town, while Liam Gale was on the scoresheet once more during Oldland Abbotonians’ 3-1 win over Portishead Town.
There were two Premier Division fixtures on Tuesday evening, with plenty of goals and both away sides eventually prevailing. At Springfield, Chipping Sodbury claimed a 6-2 win away at Cadbury Heath for whom Simon McElroy scored twice. The Sods stormed to victory thanks to a brace from Joe White, with Sam Jenkins also netting for the visitors alongside a brilliant hat-trick from George Box. Buckland Athletic produced the goods again away at Bridport, with Chris McPhee, Charlie Johansen and substitute Nick Rudge all getting on the scoresheet during their 3-2 win at St Mary’s Field.
The following evening, Buckland were in league action once again, managing to overturn a deficit with ten men to beat Bitton 4-1 at Homer’s Heath. Following a goalless first half, Bitton went ahead soon after the break through Josh Morgan-Williams just moments after their hosts lost skipper Liam Head to a red card. Buckland produced a stunning display to come from behind to claim all three points, with Les Afful, Chris McPhee, Charlie Johansen and Josh Webber each grabbing goals. Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Ben Crewe and Brandon Feehely each scored in either half during Hengrove Athletic’s 5-0 victory over Shepton Mallet, while Melksham Town secured a 3-1 win away at Willand Rovers. After falling behind to Brett Worbey’s opener, Melksham claimed the win thanks to a brace from Luke Ballinger, before a late penalty for Gary Higdon capped their season in perfect fashion.
First Division Champions
Despite claiming 27 league victories, and scoring 120 goals in their 42 league victories, Keynsham Town have missed out on gaining promotion. Their fate was finally sealed on Wednesday following Westbury’s victory, and they ended their own season with a 4-3 defeat away at Warminster Town. In what was terrific entertainment for those in attendance, bottom side Warminster claimed a shock three-goal lead following a brace from George Butler, which sandwiched a strike from Reece Collyer. Matt Brown’s double, and a goal from Kyle Box got Keynsham on level terms, but then with less than ten minutes left on the clock, Warminster captain Charlie Walton struck the seventh and final goal of the contest to bring the curtain down on a tough season for his side. At the Dening Sports Field, Adam Jones’ last minute equaliser secured a fourth place finish for Cheddar. After falling behind twice to goals from Ben Haines and James Boyland, the Cheesemen claimed the 2-2 draw away at Chard Town thanks to equalisers from Stephen Pennington, and then Jones in the dying moments. Players from either side scored a hat-trick in the fixture at the Aitchison Playing Fields where Bristol Telephones ran out 5-4 over their hosts Oldland Abbotonians. Ben Dowdell struck three times for Oldland, but it was the away side who claimed the points, after goals from Dhani Golding and Zayn Alime added to Lee Pitman’s terrific treble. Bishop Sutton got revenge over the same Sherborne Town side that had recently beaten them 7-1, with Oaklan Buck scoring twice to lead them to a 3-2 win at Lakeview. Welton Rovers claimed a 2-0 derby victory over Radstock Town, with Aaron Cockerill and Lewis Coleman scoring in the space of three second half minutes to hand them local bragging rights ahead of next season. Meanwhile at the Southbank Ground, a goal from half-time substitute Tyler Manning led Portishead Town to a 1-0 victory away at Corsham Town.
On Thursday, there were three away victories in the Premier Division, with a double from Ian Bellinger and a goal from Tom Ellis helping Wellington end their season with a 3-0 win over Cadbury Heath. At Ironmould Lane, Bridport overturned a two-goal half-time deficit to defeat Brislington 4-2. Goals from Louis Britton and Neikell Plummer gave the home side a healthy advantage at the break, with quick-fire strikes from Ed Butcher and Leighton Thomas getting Bridport back on level terms before Oscar Latas scored twice in the final three minutes to complete the comeback. Hengrove Athletic confirmed a top-half finish after defeating Buckland Athletic 3-2 at Homer’s Heath. Buckland, being forced to play for the fourth consecutive evening following a spate of postponements earlier in the season, showed no signs of fatigue in the early stages and claimed a two-goal lead inside half an hour through Shane Gill and Charlie Johansen. Brandon Feehely halved Hengrove’s deficit with a stunning strike in the 33rd minute, with Jack Fillingham’s volley then levelling the score ten minutes after half time. With ten minutes left in their season, Craig White’s corner snuck home untouched to give Hengrove the win and in turn end Buckland’s hopes of promotion. Instead, it was Melksham who could celebrate joining Street in next season’s Southern League, with Buckland able to slant their focus towards the Les Phillips Cup final in the hope that they can end their season with some silverware.
Bradford Town’s impressive season ended on a high, with Will Haliston scoring late on to hand them a 2-1 win away at Bridport. The visitors went ahead after just eight minutes through the departing Karim Rendall, with Bridport getting back on level terms early in the second half through Ed Butcher. With five minutes left on the clock, Dan Cottle’s goalbound effort rebounded off the post into the path of Haliston who slotted home Bradford’s winner.
Buckland Athletic managed to grind out another three points during their treacherous end to the season, with a drilled finish from Richard Groves leading them to a 1-0 win at home to Cribbs. At The Ridings, Chipping Sodbury Town and Bridgwater Town ended their seasons by battling out a 4-4 draw.
Bridgwater frontman Jack Taylor capped a fine season personally by scoring all four of Bridgwater’s goals, two coming in either half, to take his tally for the 2017/18 campaign to 22 after starting out with fellow Somerset outfit Wellington.
Champions Westbury United battled until the final moments of a memorable season, scoring twice in the final five minutes to capture a 3-3 draw away at Cheddar. The first half ended level, with Stephen Pennington volleying Cheddar ahead, before the diminutive Jamie Jordan grabbed an equaliser for the visitors toward the end of the first period. The Cheesemen were attempting to complete the double over Westbury this season, and put themselves in good position to do so following goals from Chris Coombs and Craig Mawford to gain a 3-1 advantage. United maintained the high standards which saw them crowned champions earlier in the week, and thanks to late goals from Mark Robinson and Martin Johnson they extended their unbeaten run to 23 games.
Devizes Town reached the 70-point mark in their final fixture, coming from behind at the break to defeat Welton Rovers 4-2. Malick Jammeh scored twice toward the end of the first-half to give the hosts a half-time lead, but it was Devizes who went away with the three points following a brace from Tom Slater, plus goals from Jay Walters and Matt Russell to give captain Dan Sloan the perfect send-off.
Saturday 5th May
Chippenham Park were another side to win away from home, with Jamie Norman’s strike giving them a 1-0 victory away at Chard Town, while Bishop Sutton defeated Radstock Town 3-2 at Lakeview. Wincanton Town claimed victory in their penultimate home fixture of the season, defeating Ashton & Backwell United 3-1. Conor Williams gave the home side an early lead, with goals in the final 15 minutes from Tom Morris and Dan Wise then securing the win after Ashton had levelled things up early in the second half.
The other victors on Saturday afternoon were Malmesbury Victoria, after they hit Bishops Lydeard for five at the Flying Monk Ground. The Vics had not tasted victory in their previous nine fixtures, but stormed to the three points against Lydeard with Ellis Dunton scoring twice alongside further goals from Jamie Packer, Kieran Jones and George Peare.