Stoke's run of nine straight clean sheets hailed as new league best
STOKE Gabriel's run of nine clean sheets in a row has been hailed as a record by Carlsberg South West Peninsula League company secretary Phil Hiscox.
Gary Fisher's side beat Crediton 2-0 away from home on Saturday to make it more than 800 minutes since they conceded a goal.
Incredibly, the Railwaymen have only conceded one goal all season, on August 17.
Hiscox believed it was a record for the current league, which is seven years old.
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"I would go so far as to say it is a record – even the likes of Bodmin Town haven't gone a quarter of a season without conceding a goal, and nine games is effectively a quarter of the season."
It is the second record of the season for Stoke, who beat Liverton United 23-0 to set a new goalscoring best last month.
But their run faces a tough test this Saturday, as they travel to Premier Division Elburton Villa in the Throgmorton Cup (3pm).
Player-manager Fisher said the record was a positive, but only as it had enabled them to maintain a winning run in Division One East.
"At this stage of the season it's all about getting the three points – but if you don't concede a goal then you're always going to have a chance of winning.
"Records are great, don't get me wrong, but we want to win the league."
Fisher said the Throgmorton Cup was far from merely a distraction for his side, who are out to win every game.
"At the end of the day it will be a good test for us," he added.
"They are the in the league above and that's where we want to be – I think the players are up for it, and I look at every game like I want to win it."
GALMPTON United boss Steve Parkin said his side will take on Premier Division side Saltash United this Saturday with 'nothing to fear' (3pm).
The greens are in action at the Kimberly Stadium in the Throgmorton Cup second round, and hoping to continue a run which has seen them win their last four league games.
Parkin saw his side win 2-1 at Axminster Town last weekend, despite playing for almost 70 minutes with only 10 men.
Galmpton went 1-0 down after 10 minutes – with their full team – and then had Liam Jones dismissed for aiming a kick at his opposite number.
But after a change of tactics, Dan Rankin brought down a long ball and volleyed in, and Lloyd Clark then waltzed through from the halfway line and saw his effort go in off a post.
Parkin explained: "To be fair I said to the opposition manager that it was probably our best result, but had a lot to do with the circumstances of the game.
"We played on a school ground which was as big as a postage stamp – it's smaller than the pitch at the grammar school that I work at. I've never seen anything like it.
"When you are down to 10 men on a pitch like that it doesn't really make a difference because there's no space to play in anyway."
Galmpton's squad has been hit by a number of injuries, including a career-ending leg break for journeyman striker Kevin Wills, which left him in hospital for nine days and meant inserting a metal plate into his leg.
Short term, John Potter twisted his ankle last weekend, while Richie Whatman and Kev Wiltshire are both out with groin and hip injuries respectively.
But Parkin said the mood was good around his team, and they could look forward to the tie.
"It should be an enjoyable game for us with no expectations," he added.
"If we win it's a massive upset so as far as we're concerned we will go there, do our best and see what happens.
"It's a competition that we would have to be very lucky to win, as it includes plenty of teams who have big budgets, so we will go there without fear."
ELSEWHERE, Throgmorton Cup clashes account for both Liverton United and Teignmouth this weekend.
Mickey Walsh's Lilywhites travelling to Division One West side Sticker and Geoff Breslan's Teigns at home to Premier Division outfit Launceston.
Last weekend, Walsh saw his unbeaten run in charge of Liverton ended in a 4-2 defeat at the University of Exeter, which included in the dismissal of midfielder Matt Micklewright.
Teignmouth continued their resurgence with a 3-1 win over Plymstock.
There are only two Division One East clashes involving South Devon sides, with Totnes and Dartington travelling to Axminster and Newton Abbot Spurs hosting Okehampton Argyle.
Last weekend, Tots earned a point against Alphington, while Spurs lost 2-0 at Budleigh.