Clevedon Town suffer Saltash defeat on opening day
- Credit: pitchero.com/clubs/clevedontown
Clevedon Town slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Saltash United on the first day of the Toolstation Western League Premier Division season.
Mitch Osmond's shot was parried by Jordan Duffy almost straight from kick-off, but the hosts took the lead on 13 minutes when a speculative shot from the lively Harrison Davis flew over Luca Smith.
Freddie King’s shot was deflected and Osmond hit the top of the crossbar from the corner, but Saltash began to show better control on a bone hard pitch and Smith saved twice from Harrison and produced a double block as Clevedon struggled to clear.
Henry Wilson was booked for a handball to stop Ethan Feltham but a good Saltash spell saw two dangerous crosses by Dave Barker create openings for Sam Hughes and Miller and Mike Smith shot tamely wide after Clevedon were caught in possession.
Barker then headed an Osmond free-kick away to Callum Eastwood whose header was saved by Duffy but Clevedon were relieved to see a Hughes shot deflected behind before the break.
Hughes fired over at the start of the second period, but Clevedon began to exert more pressure and equalised on 52 minutes when Osmond slid the ball through for King to shoot past the advancing Duffy.
Saltash were back in front five minutes later, though, as a double substitution paid off immediately when Callum Merrin’s mishit shot fell to Charlie Elkington on the edge of the box and the ball flew off his leg past Smith into the far corner of the net.
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King put Feltham through from the restart, but the advancing Duffy hit Feltham with his clearance and the ball flew over the bar.
Camper hit the top of the bar from a free-kick from just outside the box and a quick Elliot Nicholson throw found King cutting in only to be stopped at the expense of a corner.
Clevedon introduced Archie Ferris and Henry Westlake for Feltham and Alex Camm and Osmond and King combined to put Ferris through, but he was checked on the edge of the box by Saltash skipper Barker, who was sent off on 76 minutes.
King's free-kick was saved by Duffy, who also stopped Camper's follow-up, and King also hit the side netting before strong shouts for a penalty were turned down on 87 minutes.
Duffy punched clear as Ferris challenged and did well to collect a Ferris through ball aimed at King, as disappointed manager Alex White said: "It was a hard defeat to take but not disastrous. The game could have gone either way and I thought a draw would have been a fair result.
"There was still some rustiness out there, but overall, I was pleased with the performance and its’s how we bounce back against Cadbury Heath in what will be another tough game which is now important."
Town host Cadbury Heath at the Everyone Active tonight (Wednesday, 7.30pm) and start their FA Cup campaign with a home tie against Combined Counties League Chalfont St Peter on Saturday (3pm).