INJURIES and suspensions continue to be a problem for Ivybridge Town in the closing weeks of their South West Peninsula League campaign with manager Darren Stewart admitting: “we are struggling for numbers at the moment,” writes Graham Hambly.
He added that seven of those he would consider as first choice players were ruled out of consideration for the 1-0 defeat away to Bovey Tracey on Tuesday, April 4.
The nightmare continued when it was confirmed after the game that skipper and central defender Scott Pocock has a fractured collar bone and will miss the remainder of the season.
The absentees on Tuesday included leading scorer Jordan Ewing (suspended), fellow forward Fletcher Williams (also suspended) and regular right-back Curtis Legrice (work commitments).
Despite their problems, Ivybridge looked on-course to come away with a hard-earned point until being beaten by a last-minute goal from Bovey left-back Lewis Perring.
In fact, Ivybridge had their moments and, at times, looked capable of winning the game. But they were handicapped by the loss of midfielder Owen Raven, who was sent off after collecting a second yellow card and Ivybridge were left with 10 men for the final 20 minutes.
They still showed some good spirit, however, and nearly equalised when substitute Matt Squires fired against the underside of the bar in the last of five added minutes at the end of the game. The ball bounced down with some observers believing the ball had crossed the line for a goal.
Stewart paid tribute to his players, commenting: “I can’t fault those who came into the side. From a spectator’s point of view, it was a really enjoyable game with some end-to-end play at 100mph. They hit the woodwork a couple of times and we had some gilt-edged chances, but we did not keep hold of the ball long enough in the final third.
“Overall, I thought we did enough for a point, but we were punished in the last minute with lack of concentration and some tired legs.”
Regarding the dismissal of Raven, who will be suspended for the next home game against Okehampton, Stewart said: “I felt that his second yellow card was a bit soft.”
However, Stewart accepted the decision not to award a goal with the stoppage time effort from Squires, admitting: “It was difficult to call and was probably a fair decision. Earlier in the season the ball might have gone in off the underside of the bar and not bounced out. But that is the way things are going for us at the moment.”