Exeter Uni 5th XI 5, Shepton Mallet 1st XI 2
Table-topping Shepton Mallet were beaten by an inconsistent Exeter Uni side who brought their A-game to ensure it was the visitors’ toughest test of the season.
Shepton started the stronger, keeping possession and making a number of half-chances. However, Exeter opened their scoring with their first attack after five minutes, pouncing on a loose ball to set up a simple finish.
Five minutes later the lead was doubled when the university side dispatched a short corner, which should have been saved.
Shepton were not about to roll over, however, and continued to press Exeter. Their efforts were rewarded when a crossed ball was picked up by Si Hutch, who smashed the ball home.
The visitors’ efforts were further rewarded when Si Lord battled through several challenges before slipping the ball past the keeper to level the scores.
Shepton continued to dominate the game but a last-ditch tackle by Joe Corp was judged to be breaking down play in the D and the resulting penalty flick was scored by the hosts.
Exeter pressed from the restart and pounced on a loose ball before moving towards goal. The Shepton defence were slow to react and visiting keeper Tom Ward could do nothing to prevent the goal.
After the break, the visitors won a number of short corners but could not find the net. Shepton dominated possession and the hosts resorted to fouling on the edge of the D and parking the bus.
As Shepton’s attack started to make inroads, Mike Squire was sin-binned for an outburst. The visitors pressed for a way back into the match but inevitably left themselves exposed at the back.
Alex Reina, Joe Corp and Mike Reina were solid in defence and Ward closed down several one-on-ones but Exeter added a fifth from a short corner against the run of play.
Phillips Tyres man of the match: Jack Patterson.
Shepton Mallet A 2, Taunton Vale C 0
Shepton Mallet A made it two wins in two weeks with a hard-earned victory against Taunton Vale.
The away side started well and Shepton were put under a lot of pressure but resolute defending from Darrell Chainey, Mike Spencer, Paul Townsend and Des Osborne ensured that the match remained goalless.
Shepton were slow to the ball, made a number of inaccurate passes and gave away needless penalty corners. Eventually the midfield sorted itself out and some attacking moves began to take shape, with Elliot Williams and Scott Beeching linking up effectively.
The first goal came when Mark Nash got past his marker on the right to cross for George Edge to stroke the ball home.
A couple of half-chances went begging, with Nash being charged down by the Taunton keeper and then drilling the ball into the side-netting.
The second half saw Shepton sit back again and a nervous period ensued, with a number of forays into the home half ending with some decisive tackles from Spencer.
As Vale began to tire, Shepton looked much more dangerous, with Neil Billing diving for a cross and Beeching going close with a looping shot.
In a bizarre moment, the opposing keeper attempted to see the ball out in the corner of the pitch, only to be surprised by the pace of Lloyd Manville, who kept the ball in play and passed back to Edge, but he scuffed his shot wide of the open goal.
However, the points were sewn up late on when another Manville cross was met by an inspired deflected shot from Nash.
Phillips Tyres man of the match: Mike Spencer.
On Saturday, Shepton face league leaders Bridgwater.