Uhlsport Somerset County League
Premier Division
Ilminster Town 2, Westfield 0

CONFIDENCE is a big factor in football and after the previous week's first win of the season at home to Clutton, Ilminster Town seem to have rediscovered their inner belief, writes Andy Fish.

The Blues put in an outstanding performance to beat high flying Westfield 2-0 on Saturday, Taylor Jefferson scoring twice to see off the team who had moved up to second in the Premier Division table.

The reinvigorated hosts completely dominated the first 20 minutes but could not create a clear opening as Westfield defended well.

The high temperatures led to the referee ordering a drinks break, but this came at the wrong time for the Blues as the away side reorganised and went on the attack.

However, young goalkeeper Jack Rutter – in for the unavailable Chris May – dealt with everything that was thrown at him, as Westfield were limited to shots and crosses from distance.

Captain Doug Whitfield was forced off with a knock on the half-hour, with Sam Tratt replacing him in the heart of defence, but it was the Blues who went ahead just before half-time.

Charlie Rutter, who was causing problems with his aerial strength, flicked the ball on, and although the Westfield keeper got there before Jefferson, he mishandled, giving the striker a chance that he gladly excepted, slotting home from six yards to make it 1-0.

The second half began with Westfield pushing forward as they looked to draw level, their strong midfield causing problems, but the Blues were all working hard to shut them down.

Then, in a carbon copy of Ilminster’s first goal, Charlie Rutter got up well, beating two defenders in the air to head Jack Rutter's goal-kick into the path of Jefferson, who used his pace to run clear – and with the keeper off his line, he calmly chipped the ball over his head from 20 yards out for a well-taken second goal.

Westfield then thought they had reduced the arrears, but the 'goal' was ruled out for offside, and after this Ilminster saw the game out in a professional manner.

This was a fantastic result against a top side; like last week everyone played their part in a fine team performance.

Credit goes to Charlie Rutter, who has given up the captaincy to concentrate more on his own game – his hold-up play and overall strength in the air proved a vital component in this victory.

The experienced frontman has taken on the side as caretaker manager and brought in three to the back room staff who run things from the dugout during the game; this has certainly helped the club, as back-to-back victories have proven.

Jefferson was once again outstanding and seems to have suddenly realised where his strengths are, but for a solid performance in goal – earning his side their first clean sheet of the season – Jack Rutter won the man of the match vote.

Ilminster Town: Jack Rutter, Owen Burn, Mike Whitefield, Brad Pitman, Luke Paul, Doug Whitfield, Ben Pitman, Mitch Hooper, Lee Sweet, Taylor Jefferson, Charlie Rutter. Subs (used): Noah Kruszynski, Sam Tratt, Andy Whitefield.

This coming Saturday the Blues (who were rock bottom two weeks ago, but have now moved up to 11th place) are on the road with a 3pm kick-off against 13th-placed Stockwood Wanderers.


Division 3
Tunley 2, Combe St Nicholas 3

COMBE made the long trip to Tunley buoyed by their second-half performance the previous week, when they came from two goals down to draw with leaders Chew Magna.

The game started scrappily and the home team broke the deadlock in the first five minutes following poor defending by the Saints.

The visitors upped their work rate after the break and equalised through Jack Steer, after a great cross from young Manley.

With 15 minutes left, Adam Male bundled home to give Combe the lead.

Combe again lost possession cheaply, however, and the home side took advantage to equalise with five minutes to go.

The visitors piled on the pressure in search of a winner and, with two minutes to go, Sam Sheldrake’s long-range effort was spilled by the keeper and Jack Male finished well from a tight angle to win the game.

This Saturday, Combe host Banwell.


Women’s FA Cup
First round qualifying
Ilminster Town 1, Moneyfields 4 (aet)

ILMINSTER Town Ladies hosted Portsmouth-based Moneyfields on Sunday and suffered an extra-time defeat in this fine FA Cup qualifier.

Moneyfields came flying out the blocks, forcing Ilminster keeper Charlotte Johnson into a save within the first two minutes.

Ilminster managed to launch a couple of attacks of their own and it was they who struck first, in the 27th minute, when captain Sarah Miller finished calmly after a cross was spilled by the goalkeeper.

Moneyfields forced Johnson into further smart saves before half-time and their pressure finally told in the 64th minute when they levelled through their dangerous winger.

Both keepers made good saves as normal time ended in stalemate.

The first half of extra-time was goalless but Moneyfields took the lead in the 107th minute.

Chasing the game, Ilminster conceded two further goals.

Ilminster: Charlotte Johnson, Georgia Mann, Daisy Charles, Dana Andrews, Hannah Billing, Georgia Coward, Sarah Miller (c), Charlie Pettinger, Colette Martin, Maisie Parker, Abbie Carslake. Subs (all used): Graziely Esperanca, Katie Martin, Nicola Johnson. POM: Charlotte Johnson