Appledore's Marc Clark too quick for Bradworthy in North Devon League
THE PACE and persistence of Appledore striker Marc Clark proved too much for Bradworthy in the North Devon League premier division.
Clark scored a hat-trick as the Fishermen extended their unbeaten run to four games with a 3-0 win at Marshford.
Despite playing the last 25 minutes with ten men after goalkeeper Aaron Screech was sent off, they always looked the sharper side.
After breaking beyond the Bradworthy defence, Clark took the ball around goalkeeper Ryan Walter to slide home the opening goal in the first half.
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Appledore's hopes were dented when Screech was sent off for comments to the referee and Hallum Cook, the striker, had to take over in goal.
Cook was soon called into action with a superb save after Gary Clarke let fly with a shot from long range.
But Clark eased the pressure with ten minutes to go after breaking clear to add his second.
The former Woolsery forward took his tally to ten for the season by beating the offside trap to score with a lob in the last minute.
Kevin Fishwick, the Appledore manager, said: "He's been a great signing for us.
"He plays on the shoulder and he doesn't stop running. He must be a nightmare to mark."
While the rest of the premier division fixtures were wiped out by the weather, the fine surface at Marshford allowed Appledore to play tidy football, with Ben Cobbett and Rob Avery influential in midfield.
A first clean sheet of the season helped them ease five points clear of the relegation zone.
Since beating Boca Seniors in September, Bradworthy have gone four games without a win.
Fremington passed a tough test at Merton to go three points clear at the top of the senior division.
Second-half goals from Ryan Crompton, Mark Sanders and Andy King sealed a 3-1 win after Sam Davey had given Merton the lead.
With Nathan Delaune causing problems for their defence, Fremmy needed a strong performance from goalkeeper Jamie Pow.
The introduction of substitutes Kriss Boreham and Ronnie Ellaway after the break allowed them to take control.
Simon Larcombe created the equaliser for Crompton and was then brought down for a penalty, which Sanders converted.
After a positive response from Merton, King turned sharply to score the decisive goal in the last ten minutes.
Fremington, who have signed Dan Found from Pilton Academicals, host third-placed Combe Martin on Saturday.
Merton manager Kenny Heaman was encouraged by a lively performance from his team, which had an average age of 20.
Goalkeeper Lewis Harris and Spencer Phillips, in midfield, both impressed after stepping up from the reserves.
Hartland gained the upper hand over Northside Atlantic in the dress rehearsal for the Devon Intermediate Cup north area final.
A month before the two sides are due to meet in the county competition, goals from Joe Dakin, Richard Davey, Dan Slee and Dominic Allin gave Hartland a 4-1 win in intermediate one.
Northside were always chasing the game after a collision between goalkeeper Dan Barnes and defender Matt Cann allowed Dakin to score easily in the first minute.
Although the visitors created chances in a tight first half, they were undone when Davey scored with a rare right-footed effort soon after the restart.
Slee increased the advantage and Allin stepped off the bench to cap a dominant second half.
Barnes made amends for his early error with a string of saves to limit the damage and Northside replied with a cool finish from Paul Mills.