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In-form Buckland will be wary of a sloping pitch

By This is SouthDevon  |  Posted: December 18, 2009

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WHILE he says he couldn't be happier with his team, manager Phil Bayliss warns against the dangers that lie ahead of Buckland Athletic's visit to lowly Liskeard Athletic as part of tomorrow's programme in the Premier Division of the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League.

"Their's is a sloping pitch which they play well, so it's a potential banana skin," said the Bucks boss.

"Also, while we are never short of motivation against the top teams, it hasn't always been the case against the lesser ones."

Buckland are fourth from top and Liskeard fourth from bottom to under-line the big difference between the sides in terms of league positions.

And Bayliss was thrilled with the latest performance that saw Buckland reach the quarter-finals of the Throgmorton Cup with a 5-0 midweek victory over Premier Division rivals Launceston away from home.

"I couldn't have been happier against a side we lost to in the league a month ago," he said.

"The second half was brilliant, and I don't think I'm likely to see a better goal than substitute John Rimmer's for our third.

"The build-up was just magnificent, working both the ball and the areas and keeping possession for something like two minutes before scoring."

Bayliss added: "I was also pleased to have kept a clean sheet, which tells our rivals that we're a difficult side to break down as well as one that scores lots of goals at the other end.

"I like that: it's sending a message that we're the team they least want to play against. Fourth in the table is a fantastic position to be in at this stage of the season and, of course, we also have a game or games in hand of sides above us in the table.

"What we mustn't forget, however, is how we've got ourselves to where we are. It's because of our work ethic, and that must never be allowed to drop."

Central midfielder Marc Revell missed Tuesday's game with mumps, so is also ruled out tomorrow, while injury doubts surround central defender Ben Wiliamson (groin), striker Gavin Hammon (hamstring) and midfielder Darren Vicary (foot).

"I would put Williamson and Hammon at 50/50, and Vicary at 40/60 with having an ankle problem as well as a damaged foot," said Bayliss.

The midweek goalscorers were Mike Turner and Hammon in the first half, and Antony Lynch, Rimmer and Carl Rowles (in for Revell) after the break.

BOVEY TRACEY are expected to make just one change to the starting line-up for their clash at home to Falmouth Town.

Right-back Simon Baxter is suspended for one game, so player-manager Tom Kelly is forced into a re-shuffle, but it is likely to be the only change after last Saturday's 2-1 victory over Cullompton Rangers.

"It was a good win, but the final score-line was not a true reflection of the game," insisted Kelly.

"Five or even 6-1 would have done us more justice after the way we played."

The victory hoisted Bovey to 11th in the table, four places beneath Falmouth having played two games more.

"I played against them seasons ago when they were the top club in the South Western League," recalled Kelly.

"Whatever side they put out, you know they'll set you a test, though I'm more concerned with what we do, and not what the other side is capable of.

"At the moment, the spirit throughout the squad is amazing, as was shown after coming back from 4-1 to beat Clyst Rovers 5-4 a fortnight ago and after Cullompton equalised with a penalty last Saturday.

"We came back straight away, and that tells me all I need to know - that everyone is champing at the bit right now."

Kelly continues to be side-lined with a knee injury, but will name Baxter's replacement from within last weekend's squad.

However, the first name on the team sheet after last week is likely to be striker Mark Sneap, who Kelly described as 'sensational' against Cullompton.

LIKE their two South area rivals, Dartmouth AFC approach tomorrow with a win immediately behind them having laid their bogey, Launceston, 3-0 at Longcross last weekend.

They're at home again, this time to second-from-bottom Wadebridge Town, although player-manager Jamie Bennellick isn't without his selection problems after suspending training this week with a handful of players suffering from flu.

Forwards Phil Hardee and Robbie Fricker were among those worst hit along with defender Kevin Causley, leaving all three to undergo health rather than fitness checks before Bennellick draws-up his squad.

It's unfortunate, because Bennellick was facing a pleasant selection poser after the Launceston win.

Both Fricker (home from university) and Jordan Havlin (returning from injury) made significant contributions after coming off the subs' bench 20 minutes into the second half, and were therefore serious contenders for a starting place.

Fricker, in particular, won penalties, one of which he missed, but now even another start from the subs' bench has to be under threat while he's under the weather.

Commented Bennellick: "Hardee, Fricker and Causley were the most affected by flu, but there were a couple of others also feeling unwell. It was therefore better to suspend training rather than have others pick up the bug as well.

"Hopefully they'll have recovered by tomorrow, because we're on a bit of a run after three wins in the last four.

"It would be nice to make that four wins, not least with Wadebridge among the teams we're attempting to shake off at the bottom of the table.

"We haven't played them this season, but reports suggest they're a pretty decent side, not as poor as their league position indicates.

"In saying that, we have to set our own sights, because beating a side like Launceston last week will count for nothing if we don't follow it up with another three points."

THE Premier Division programme gets under way tonight when leaders Bodmin entertain second-in-the-table St Blazey, and Cullompton Rangers travel to Witheridge.

It leaves three other Premier Division games tomorrow - at Haye Road where Elburton Villa host Saltash United, Holsworthy (Plymouth Parkway) and Ivybridge (Launceston).

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