BOVEY Tracey chalked up their second friendly victory over Western League opposition in five days with a comfortable 3-0 win at Shepton Mallet on Saturday.
Bovey cruised to victory in sodden Somerset, with goals from Sean Finch, Ollie Aplin and Cal Leech toppling the higher-league hosts.
‘It was a pleasing win in horrible conditions after a long journey,’ said delighted Bovey boss Will Small.
‘We arrived late and had seven unavailable so people have really had to step up to come into the side. We got good minutes in everybody and looked good going forward again having played some really good football.
‘Off the ball, we were organised and had that fight and determination to win it back.’
The Moorlanders were soaking up more than the torrential July rain for the first 15 minutes as Shepton applied pressure on a shaky defence. Bovey stood tall.
‘We had a new back three who haven’t played together with a new wing-back,’ Small explained, ‘and the midfield three was also different from last week, so there were lots of new faces.
‘We only got off the minibus at half-past two, so we were a bit leggy for the first 15 minutes.
‘[Shepton have] got some fantastic players - their captain is very good on the ball and they’ve got plenty of runners from midfield but as soon as we adapted and communicated with each other, I don’t remember them having a shot on goal for the next 75 minutes.
‘They didn’t really get near our goal and we could have had four or five on another day, so it is really promising.’
Soon after they righted themselves, Bovey took the lead. The ubiquitous Leech fizzed in a cross from the left which proved too hot to handle for the Shepton gloves-man, whose mishandle allowed Finch to swoop in and poke into an empty net.
The second came immediately after the half-time interval. Leech was again instrumental, with his cross this time reaching its target - striker Aplin - who nodded home.
Provider turned scorer with 20 minutes still to play. Substitute Jerry Revell’s cross flashed across goal and was gathered by Aplin, who looked to recycle the ball by working it back across to the right where Leech was in space. The winger initially fired a cross into the mixer which was repelled straight back to his feet, and this time he opted to take the shot on and smashed home across the goalkeeper.
‘When we played the top sides last year, we turned up and showed what we can do but it was against the lower-position sides that we struggled,’ Small said.
‘Hopefully we can turn up this year. No disrespect to Wellington or Launceston but we should be beating them but when it’s against teams of a higher standard we can really turn it on.
‘It stands us in good stead if we can keep clean sheets in these games and hopefully we can roll on into the season with good habits.
‘We’ve found the formation we want to play,’ Small admitted, ‘so long as everyone continues to work hard and is disciplined but we can’t guarantee we will do that every week.
‘Personnel-wise, we’ve got 18 lads in the squad who are all good enough to be starting, and that’s where we want to be.’