Newton Abbot Spurs face a trip to high-flying Axminster Town, while Bovey Tracey hit the road for Torrington’s Vicarage Field. Teignmouth are the only Peninsula League side hosting a game in Teignbridge this weekend, as Elmore visit Coombe Valley for the first time in three years - almost to the day.
After passing the tough test of Okehampton Argyle with flying colours on Tuesday, Spurs must now pay a visit to Axminster’s Tiger Way. The familiar source of goals in James Moxon was back on the score sheet against Okehampton after missing Newton’s league-opening meeting with Crediton United.
Spurs put on a professional display against a well-oiled Okehampton side, who had come into the tie without even conceding in their opening three games. After weathering something of a storm in the first half, Spurs flew out of the blocks following the break and had snatched the lead within four minutes. A great ball in from the right from Will Hancox found Moxon arriving at breakneck speed, and the talismanic striker did brilliantly to thump a first-time effort high into the top corner.
Three minutes later, Newton had their second. A lightning-quick break saw Moxon play a neat ball across for Toby Pullman, who had time to move the ball onto his left foot and curl a shot beyond the diving ‘keeper.
Marc Revell’s side have only played twice this season. The games were separated by an unusually-long two-week break, which begs questions about how the players will cope with the busy schedule that the end of August traditionally poses.
Revell said: ‘This will be our third big test of the season. Okehampton are a very good side and Crediton have a new management team and a new style of football, so we didn’t know what to expect there.
‘We lost 5-0 [at Tiger Way] on the opening day last season but I am always quietly confident in my lads. We need to have the same mindset that we did against Okehampton. We were very direct against them and it worked. We have a plan to destabilise Axminster.
‘I put a lot of pressure on the lads,’ Revell continued. ‘We have a young squad that is undergoing a long process but the best I’ve seen form them is what I want to see every week.
‘We will go to Axminster apprehensive but prepared, just like we did against Okehampton. Okehampton were overconfident, and I’m hoping Axminster will be the same. They have some old heads but they can be a detriment, and that’ll be something we can derail.
‘To beat Axminster would be a similar feat to the win against Okehampton, but we don’t fear anyone.’
Elsewhere, Bovey Tracey are back on the road after two home games in succession. The nearly-80-mile round trip to Torrington awaits the Moorlanders on Saturday after they returned to winning ways on Wednesday night.
Having been beaten 4-0 and 3-0 by Brixham and Axminster respectively in the previous seven days, Bovey bounced back in style with a dominating 3-1 win over Teignmouth. Ollie Aplin bagged a brace to bring his tally for the season up to four, while young Luke Manuell broke the deadlock with his first competitive goal for Bovey Tracey.
Vicarage Field has not been a fruitful venue for Bovey of late. When Will Small’s side visited at the end of last season, Torrington ran-out as 2-1 victors in what was Bovey’s last defeat of the campaign.
But this new season has been a struggle for the Super Greens. An opening day thrashing from Axminster set an unfortunate tone as a further three defeats have come their way in the following three matches, on two of which Torrington drew a blank.
Ahead of the game, Bovey Tracey gaffer Will Small said: ‘It will be a completely different game [to Teignmouth]. It’s a small pitch and not a particularly nice surface to play football on. As a side they’re compact and they’re well organised.
‘We’ll address it completely differently and there will be changes to the side with people who are and aren’t available.
‘We just have to take each game as it comes with one eye looking ahead to Newton Spurs on Tuesday night too.’
Teignmouth welcome Elmore to the south coast on Saturday. Things have been running fairly smoothly at Coombe Valley since Teignmouth’s return to the Peninsula League. Before Wednesday night’s defeat at Bovey, the Teigns had won both of their first two. A thrilling comeback on the opening day saw them 3-2 winners at Plymouth Marjon, while their home opener last Saturday was a worthy 2-0 win.
It has been a much bleaker August in Tiverton as Elmore have suffered three defeats from their opening four. Torridgeside visited on opening day and battered the Eagles 4-0 before two further defeats from Crediton and Brixham saw them fighting around the bottom of the table. But Elmore got themselves back on track on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Bridport.
After the disappointment of Wednesday night’s defeat at Bovey, Teigns boss Liam Jones is grateful to have an immediate chance to put things right.
‘It’s almost perfect,’ Jones admitted. ‘The last thing the lads want after tonight is a training session before the next game. You lose games, you just want to get back to it.
‘Ash [Donohue] will be back. He scores our goals so that will be a big plus. Joner [Liam Jones] and JB [Jack Baxter] have both warmed up tonight so we think they’re both close to a return.
‘And Daddsy [Kevin Dadd]’s got some minutes back in the legs – he popped his calf a few weeks back – so he’ll be back in the side.’