Ilfracombe go to Wells without James Mayne
Just as one reliable player announced he was back, Ilfracombe Town had to face up to the loss of another.
Shaun Lewis stepped off the bench to hit a late winner against Longwell Green in last weekend's Toolstation Western League Premier Division encounter. But the Bluebirds look set to be without James Mayne for six weeks, after the defender suffered a broken cheekbone.
It was an eventful last ten minutes to a physical clash at Marlborough Park and Mayne's collision summed up the commitment on show.
Ahead of games at Wells City today and at home to Bridport on Tuesday, Ilfracombe manager Ross Middleton must reorganise his back four.
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The loss of Mayne was tempered, at least, by the return of fellow defender Craig Allan from a three-match suspension. Middleton is not short on options in central defence with Karl Baggaley, Gary Skinner and Kane Dryden also capable of playing there. But Mayne's leadership and experience will be missed at a busy time of the season.
"That was the downer on the day," said Middleton. "James got there bravely, knowing the lad was charging right at him.
"It wasn't intentional. It was a hell of a crack and he's not the type to roll around on the floor for nothing."
Moments earlier, Lewis had made his presence felt with his long-awaited first goal of the season. With limited appearances this season due to work and family commitments, Lewis finally grabbed his first goal since his hat-trick against Wells City last March.
"He has been a frustrated figure, to say the least," said Middleton. "I've never seen anyone have so many shots hit the post or be cleared off the line. He has been so unlucky."
Barnstaple Town go to Radstock Town today in pursuit of much-needed Premier Division points, while Willand Rovers and Buckland Athletic meet in a Les Phillips Cup tie at Silver Street.
Willand manager Clive Jones has said he will be taking the second-round tie as seriously as a League match.
Willand reached the final of the competition last term, only to lose to Bristol Manor Farm, and Jones is hoping to go one step further.
"I treat the Les Phillips Cup as being as important as the league. I've got to the final three times, losing twice and winning once," Jones, said.
"This is a big game for both teams. Buckland are having a superb first season and are looking very good, so it will be tough. It is one of the things we aim to do well in at the start of the season, but Buckland will be a very big test for us."