Budleigh Salterton were unable to make it six successive Scott Richards Devon League North & East successes as they slipped to a 7-2 defeat away at Braunton on the penultimate Saturday of November.
To be fair to the Robins’, they travelled to North Devon without a number of senior players and their cause was further hindered by the second half sending off of goalkeeper Jack Pepperell.
The Budleigh glovesman was harshly despatched with 20 minutes remaining and his side already 6-1 down when many at the game felt a yellow card would have been a more appropriate punishment – however, the match official, who was being assessed, deemed a straight red card was required and, in a ‘double whammy’ the penalty was driven past stand-in Budleigh glovesman Luke Iddon by Braunton striker Sam Box.
Budleigh, who were forced to make a number of changes to the side that had won so well at Acland Park, Feniton just seven days before, made a bright start and it was somewhat against the run of the early play when the home team took a sixth minute lead with a free-kick being initially blocked before it came back to Matthew King who drilled it beyond Pepperell.
On 15 minutes the home lead was doubled and it came when the Robins’ defence failed to clear a ball and, after a some ‘ping-pong’ in the area the final touch came off glovesman Pepperell to be registered as an own goal,
Budleigh continued to give as good as they got, but fell three behind on the half hour when, from a set-piece which was a potent weapon for the home side on the day, was headed home at the near post by Connor Stapley.
Five minutes before the break Braunton made it 4-0 when a cross from the fight was headed home by Matthew King.
Eight minutes into the second half and it was Budleigh’s turn to score a goal – a deserved one too with Kaiden Vittles netting from close range after the home defence had failed to make a routine clearance.
However, rather than spark a revival, the goal back seemed to draw a response from the home side and, four minutes after being pegged back a goal their four goal margin in the contest was restored when Sam Box rifled home his teams fifth.
On 71 minutes came the ‘red card’ incident when the unfortunate Pepperell was deemed to have denied a goal scoring opportunity and Luke Iddon took over in the Robins’ goal and his first duty was to retrieve Sam Box’s powerful spot kick drive from the back of the net.
Four minutes later and the impressive Box had a second half – 18-minute – hat-trick as he fired past Iddon.
Battling Budleigh did have the final say on the day with Vittles creating space for himself before drilling the ball home, but that was merely a late act and some small compensation for a Budleigh team that was well beaten on the day by a powerful Braunton outfit.
Next up for Budleigh is another away game – a third in succession – as they head to North Molton Sports this coming Saturday (November 27).