Ilminster faced Shirehampton at home on Saturday and the Bristol based side who were runners up in the Premier League last season have a good pedigree, twice being crowned champions in the last eight seasons with star Striker Scott Bamford scoring an incredible 261 goals during that spell.
Ilminster found themselves 1-0 down after 9 seconds, when straight from the kick off the ball was fed out right to Bamfield who on picking the ball up, ran at the home defence with pace, power and purpose before cutting inside and hitting an unstoppable shot into the top corner, that was hit so sweetly Chris May in goal did not even move.
With in two minutes Bamfield was in on goal again but this time May saved the initial effort and with three or four bodies on the line the rebound was cleared to safety.
The young Ilminster could have been blown away, especially with Captain and talismanic Centre Half Jonny May away with his defensive partner Doug Whitfield as both train to be fireman.
Both Jake Woodard and Adam Male were brought in as replacements, but it was Bamford who started out wide on the right before cutting infield and running directly at goal that was causing all the problems. The visitors had a game plan that involved diagonal balls from left to right where Bamford was right on the shoulder of young Karl Davis at left back, Davis has certainly never faced such a quality forward as he was run ragged by the experienced front man at times.
Ilminster fought back and slowly got a foothold back in the game with neat passing, and when a free kick was won on the left Brad Miles swung in a great ball and with a goalmouth scramble Taylor Jefferson was sharpest to react and buried the loose ball from just inside the 6 yard box to bring the scores level.
Shirehampton restored their lead when a free kick was headed on and the attacker at the far post could not believe his luck as he headed home unmarked, it was a real poor goal to give away from the home side.
The Blues came again when Jefferson had a great run down the right and when he whipped in a dangerous cross Tom Sullivan arrived but stopped the ball over on the stretch. The Blues were playing some good football but when Brad Pitman was robbed in possession the ball was quickly worked out to Bamford again ran in on goal before rounding May to give his side a 3-1 lead.
As Ilminster tried to get back in the match, Miles brought a good save from the keeper from a direct free kick but with Shirehampton playing on the counter attack Bamford broke again but May stood strong and this time won the duel.
The second period started badly for the Blues as Bamford once again raced through the gears and showed his class with a good finish for his hat-trick.
But again Ilminster went at the visitors and with Ben Pitman who had twice needed the attention of physio Andy Dyke replaced by Jack Male who was involved in the build up that led to Jefferson hitting the post, and Brad Pitman following up to score from the rebound.
Next with 65 minutes on the clock, Jefferson broke through one on one and with the keeper who was well off his line, Jefferson choose to chip but the ball crept agonising wide.
Ilminster kept playing their passing game and were well on top and reduced the deficit even more when Jefferson headed home at the far post from a Sullivan cross to bring the score to 4-3 in the 87th minute.
The Blues could have done with another ten minutes but with little time left, one more chance was created right at the death as a Miles free kick caused problems but Jefferson saw his shot blocked on the line and Shirehampton held out for the win.
The match was sponsored by Tolchards Brewery and representative Mike Angell can be seen presenting the Ilminster man of the match to Brad Miles.
Chris May, Luke Paul, Karl Davis, Brad Pitman, Jake Woodard, Adam Male, Brad Miles, Tom Sullivan, Ben Pitman, Taylor Jefferson, Charlie Rutter
Next week Ilminster don’t have a game and the following week are away in the League cup where the side will be looking for revenge as Shirehampton are the opponents.
Andrew Male and his Reserve team are home at the Archie Gooch Pavilion with a 2.15 kick off against Central (Exeter) which could see the return to action of Chris Nezinanya, who has finally been pasted fit after his wrist injury in the last game of last season at Winscombe.