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Match report: Boca Seniors 2 Braunton 1

By NDJMark  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

Scott Sharp was the match winner for Boca Seniors

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Boca Seniors are strong favourites to regain the North Devon League title after a 2-1 win over Braunton this evening.

Scott Sharp scored twice as unbeaten Boca completed the league double over their Premier Division rivals.

After going 2-0 down on the hour, Braunton replied with a close-range finish from Russell Harrison but were unable to force an equaliser.

While Mark Harris's team still have a three-point advantage at the top, Boca can go six points clear by winning their three games in hand.

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A crowd of around 180 at the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple saw a tight and competitive midfield battle with few clear-cut openings for either side.

But is was the clinical finishing of Sharp early in the second half that rewarded Darren Todd's side for their desire. 

Within 50 seconds of the restart, Sharp buried the opening goal into the roof of the net when Elliot Whitecross robbed possession from Scott Maynard on the right and picked out his strike partner.

And Sharp struck again in the 60th minute, racing in behind the defence to lob Sean Lowe after Ciaron Lishman helped the ball on.

Braunton's biggest threat came from the long throws of Dan Roberts and one of his deliveries was met with a header from Maynard who saw his effort clawed away by Darren Babb.

It did not take long for the visitors to reply, however, when another throw from Roberts was turned in by Harrison in the 66th minute.

The game was then delayed for several minutes when Boca's Jimmy Hill required treatment for a head injury following a midfield clash with Joe Seldon.

As Braunton chased an equaliser, they threw Maynard up front but found openings hard to come by against a defence well marshalled by Taro Bishop.

With Jamie Matthews ruled out with a hand injury,  Lowe had stepped up from the third team to start in goal for Braunton.

In the first minute of the game, he denied Hill  and comfortably saved low from a Sharp effort midway through the first half.

Braunton's best opening in the early stages fell to Harrison who was unable to make contact with Mark Gilfillan's near-post cross.

Boca defended well and with the strength and tenacity of Sharp up front, they were always likely to make the breakthrough.

While they may not have the fluency of previous Boca sides, this group of players have shown their hunger from the beginning of the season.

After rebuilding in the summer, few would have predicted they would still be unbeaten in April but Todd's team can secure a seventh Premier Division crown by winning their remaining six fixtures.

Braunton, who have applied to join the South West Peninsula League, are not out of the race yet and both contenders face potentially tricky games against Torrington and Torridgeside before the season is over. 

Boca Seniors: Darren Babb, Taro Bishop, Simon Ovey, Mark Thorne, Mark Turner, Kurt Bayliss, Jimmy Hill (Tom Popham 72) , Matt Deakin , Ciaron Lishman, Scott Sharp (Shaun Lewis 86), Elliot Whitecross.

Goals: Sharp 46, 60.

Yellow card: Ovey.

Braunton: Sean Lowe, Shaun Brown, Scott Maynard, Radley Watkins, Tom White (Dave Mason 72) , Dan Roberts, Joe Seldon, Russell Harrison, Ross Maynard (Alan Woodcock 58), Mark Gilfillan (Nathan Knight 67), Sam Box.

Goal: Harrison 66.  

Yellow card: Roberts, Brown.

Referee: Alan Webster.

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