BRADNINCH TOWN EXITED THE DEVON INTERMEDIATE CUP AT THE LAST 32 STAGE, BEATEN 4-1 BY HIGHER DIVISION WESTEXE PARK RANGERS AT A WINDSWEPT AND VERY COLD KENSHAM PARK.
Bradninch Town – STARTING XI: James, Sims, Birley, Foster, Vincent, Buxton, Clark, Skinner, Foster, Cottrell, Acton. SUBS: King, Leaney, Buxton.
Westexe Park Rangers – STARTING XI: Bedingham, Boswell, Butler, Davey, Harvey, Haskings, Lavery, Mackerness, Perrott, Singleton, Vellacott. SUBS: Bucknell, Ruskin, Turle.
The Mid Devon side deserved their place in the last 16, if only because they adapted better to the difficult conditions caused by the swirling wind and icy temperatures. Westexe Park Rangers had a competent midfield and carried a threat up top where George Harvey was a constant thorn in the side of the home defence.
Bradninch goalkeeper Carl James, continuing to deputise for the injured Jordan Biss, was beaten twice in the opening stages which put the home team on the back foot.
However, this season’s Town side do have both character and desire and they clawed their way back into the game on the half hour mark when Will Birley played a 60 yard pass that arrowed its way to Harry Foster in the inside right channel. Foster controlled the ball before rifling a shot goal wards that was to hot for the visiting glovesman to securely handle and, when the ball broke free, it was tucked home by striker Eliot Acton – netting his third goal in his last two outings.
Town were then denied an equaliser when an in-direct free-kick, awarded for some foul and abusive language inside the penalty area, hit the outside of the post after skipper Zack Skinner laid the ball off to Birley and his effort grazed the outside of the post. That left the visitors leading 2-1 at the interval.
After the break, the first 20 minutes of the second half were dominated by Bradninch with Manchester University student Harry Foster such an influential figure. However, as good as the Foster shift was, he did spurn a good opportunity to put his side in front and he then hit the bar with another glorious solo effort.
Matt Leaney, who had been unable to start owing to late arrival at the match, was introduced during the break and he too spurned a gilt-edged opportunity.
Bradninch were made to pay for their inability to find the back of the net as the visiting side struck twice late on to bag themselves a place in the last 16 of the competition.
The home side suffered a blow late on after glovesman James succumbed to injury and, with all three changes made by boss Murray, it meant his side were forced to play out the closing moments with 10 men.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Harry Foster