A double from Josh Wadham all but wrapped up the Toolstation Western League Premier Division title on Tuesday night at a chilly Tannery where Street made it an impressive 19 league wins on the spin in front of a crowd of 200 plus writes press officer Kerry Miller.
It was a clinical display against second placed Willand Rovers from the Cobblers who were gifted the opener just past the half hour and then sealed the deal midway through the second half to take another step towards the goal of Southern League football in August. Street were without Dave O’Hare who was carrying a knock while Willand were missing Jordan Annear and Angus Wilson from the projected squad and after a cagey opening Jake Mawford blazed over for Street from distance.
Wadham was seeing plenty of the ball in midfield and when he fed Lewis Tasker the defender’s cross shot found no more than a toe from Steve Murray and Rovers survived. Willand were finding it difficult to make any headway but from a rare attack Karl Rickard wriggled his way along the goal line but the home defence scrambled the final pass away for a corner and the danger was averted.
Referee Mike Halford had a fine game and used all his experience to defuse any potential flashpoints but had little choice but to caution Street’s Aiden Chainey before Matt Hurley all but doubled his seasonal goal tally only for his effort to be deflected for a corner. The reprieve was short lived as a quickly taken goal kick went horribly wrong with 12 minutes to the break and Wadham collected the free ball and calmly stuck it past the stranded Mike Searle to give Street the lead.
It was a blow which Willand never really looked like recovering from and moments later Searle was forced to fly away to his left to keep out a flick header from leading scorer Steve Murray, who minutes later was scythed down by Luke Mortimer who was cautioned – his tenth of the season which will now bring a two match ban.
At the break Willand boss Russell Jee introduced Brett Ausden but Street continued to dominate with Wadham going close again before somehow hitting the bar from a yard out following a corss from the right. Willand were struggling to create much but Fletcher Williams hit a drive from 30 yards which Tom Punchard gathered with the minimum of fuss before Wadham wrapped the points up on 66 minutes with a solo effort. Picking the ball up outside the box he was given too much space and time and his left foot shot flew past the unsighted Searle and the points were in the bag. He was denied his hat-trick by Searle late on then Ross McErlain hit the bar with a towering header from a corner but Willand gathered for one last effort and they enjoyed their best spell of the game with ten minutes left. Ryan Guppy’s c ross found Adam Hill, who could not get enough power in his header to beat Punchard then Willand were again crowded out with Ausden to the fore but in truth Street were comfortable and could afford Murray’s late miss.
While Richard Fey and Nathan Rudge move on towards a possible league and cup double, Willand can only rue their loss of form since January where the loss of Craig Veal back to Taunton Town and a raft of postponements have seen them fade away from a strong position. Bradford Town are now second, ten points behind Street with Willand third and Melksham Town a point behind them, all four having played 27 games. Buckland Athletic make up the top five who have any realistic chance of honours with a resurgent Bridgwater Town a distant, but none the less impressive sixth.
This Saturday Street will be looking to keep the run going at home to local rivals Shepton Mallet while Willand Rovers will be hoping Brislington’s Ironmould Lane ground dries out sufficiently to stage their game and avert the need for another midweek journey up the M5.
Press and Media Officer
Toolstation Western League