Points lost as Watchet are held

By in Football

WATCHET had to settle for a point last Saturday when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Shepton Mallet Reserves at a bitterly cold Memorial Ground.

The Red and Blacks ought to have led by more than their one goal at the interval then had to come from behind to salvage something without quite being able to force a win.

They had created nothing in the early stages before being presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead when a visiting defender gifted possession to Tom Sparks just outside the area, but although the striker neatly side-stepped the advancing keeper, the ball took a bobble just as he shot and it all went horribly wrong from there.

Ben Robinson and Aerron Clausen combined on the right to set up a chance for Aaron Deeks soon afterwards, but his lob cleared the bar as well as the keeper.

Shepton were competing well without troubling Adam Bishop, and the home side went close again when a drive from Deeks forced a full-length save, then Matt Heywood volleyed just wide of the far post following the resulting corner.

It was beginning to look like Watchet might rue these close calls, but they finally took the lead when a well-delivered inswinging corner from the right by Deeks eluded the keeper and Sparks nudged the ball home from close range with his head.

However, the Red and Blacks were unable to add to their advantage before the break, giving their opponents every encouragement for the second half when the elements would be behind them.

Neither side managed to stamp any real authority on proceedings on the resumption with Watchet not at their fluent best, but it was something of a surprise when things took a turn soon after the hour, with Shepton netting twice in five minutes.

First the ball was switched from Shepton’s right to left, full back Pike broke into the area to shoot and although his effort was parried by Bishop, the ball looped up into the air and was eventually forced home by Hodges.

Then minutes later Watchet were in disarray at the back again, and when Jamie Milton tangled on the ground with Cook, the referee awarded a penalty which the Shepton striker calmly put away.

Left with an uphill battle, the home side reacted well with substitutions freshening things up, and they began to put some threatening passing moves together.

After a visiting breakaway left them grateful to keeper Bishop for coming to the edge of his area to make a crucial tackle, Chris Sully prompted another raid at the other end by supplying Deeks, who beat his marker to chip a shot which the keeper touched onto the bar and Charley Clausen followed up to volley home the rebound and level the scores.

The momentum was now back with Watchet and they went within inches of regaining the lead when Deeks waited for the keeper to commit himself, only for his scooped effort from an angle to be scrambled off the line.

The flow was interrupted when a jinking run from Sparks was halted by him being pole-axed by a defender ,causing a lengthy delay while he was treated in the cold conditions.

A long-range curler from the Shepton substitute had Bishop acrobatically leaping to turn the ball over the top, but it was the visitors who were the happier with a draw at the final whistle.

Watchet: A Bishop, B Robinson, M Heywood, J Milton, C Shopland, C Sully, M Bailey, C Clausen, A Clausen, A Deeks, T Sparks, sub R Strong, C Jeromson, J Worth (all used).

l Watchet are at home again tomorrow (Saturday) when Fry Club visit the Memorial Ground (kick-off 2.30pm).

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