IVYBRIDGE Town continued their free-scoring form in preparation for the new season with a 5-0 win over Saltash Borough at Erme Valley on last night, writes Graham Hambly.

This came four days after their 6-2 home win against Teignmouth and featured a second successive hat-trick for striker Ollie Aplin, bringing his tally to eight goals in four pre-season friendlies.

Ivybridge took a fifth minute lead through Curtis LeGrice, but it was not until the second half that they really clicked into gear with Aplin’s quick-fire treble in the 49th, 59th and 69th minutes.

Borough remained under pressure for the remainder of the game, with Luke Forward missing a penalty for Ivybridge in the 80th minute when his shot crashed against an upright and Harry Jefferies wrapping up the scoring three minutes later.

Although Ivybridge manager Darren Stewart was delighted to see his side score five goals, making it 11 in the last two matches, he was also pleased to keep a clean sheet, adding: ‘That was important. It was one of the targets tonight.’

Stewart admitted that Borough proved difficult opponents in the first half. ‘They sat very deep,’ he explained.

‘We moved the ball around the pitch really well, but we struggled to get behind and when we did we failed to produce enough quality to score goals.

‘The second half was a different story. They came out to make a game of it, which played right into our hands.

‘We moved the ball quicker, found spaces and showed a lot more quality in the final third.

‘The second half was part of the process of what we did the first half. Once the second goal went in the opponents had to come forward.

‘Although the second half will get the headlines, overall I think we did well for the 90 minutes.’

Ivybridge took the opportunity to use their five substitutes, who included three 16-year-olds.

Stewart had a word of praise for Aplin, saying: ‘I was really pleased for Ollie. He made a lot of runs in the first half.

‘He just got on with it and in the second half he got his rewards. That’s eight goals in four games. If he does that all season I will be happy.’

Ivybridge continue their pre-season preparations with a visit to Wendron on Saturday, July 24 (3pm).

The match will be the second leg of the Leon Sargent Challenge Cup following a 3-3 draw when the sides met at Erme Valley on July 3.

Stewart will continue ringing the changes with his squad for the trip to West Cornwall.

‘We have been juggling with the Covid situation and giving plenty of players minutes,’ he said. ‘We will take another changed squad to Wendron.

‘They have a lovely facility which gives us the opportunity to knock the ball around and we are looking forward to it.’