Marcus Mapstone header gives Paulton Rovers victory at Clevedon Town in Evo-Sitk League Southern Division 1 South & West
MATCH REPORT: Clevedon Town 0 Paulton Rovers 1
After two excellent performances against promotion hopefuls Merthyr Town and Swindon Supermarine, Paulton Rovers struggled to a narrow victory over lowly Clevedon Town.
Their cause was not helped by a heavy and narrow pitch, which made passing and running with the ball difficult, and the most danger at either end came from set-pieces.
Rovers were forced to make one change to the starting line-up, with Brad Norris coming in for the unavailable James Billing, and James Vincent replacing Joe Vyner on the bench.
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The visitors had an early chance when Brendon Barnes charged down an attempted clearance by a Town defender but home keeper Joe Perry won the race to the ball.
On nine minutes, Ben Osman’s free-kick was cleared, the hosts broke quickly and a through ball looked to have sent Russ Church clear, but Rovers got a block in.
Rovers then created a chance down the left as Barnes found Nick McCootie but his shot from a narrow angle went across goal and out for a throw-in.
The visitors began to press and Town skipper Clayton Fortune was forced to head over his own bar from an in-swinging Barnes corner, while Osman saw a header from another corner go just wide.
It was all Rovers at this stage and Norris had a shot blocked, while Marcus Mapstone filcked on Ben Lacey's cross but the ball just beat the unmarked McCootie.
On 29 minutes, Rovers produced arguably the best move of the match when the ball was played wide to Lacey on the right and he went past a defender before crossing for Norris, whose first time, right-footed volley went wide of the near post.
Osman then caught a Town defender struggling to get the ball from under his feet and picked out Barnes but Mapstone headed wide from the cross.
Rovers deservedly went ahead five minutes before the break when Lacey again went past his marker but this time cut inside and sent in a shot that was deflected just wide. Osman took the resulting corner and Mapstone headed home.
Town almost drew level immediately when Aron Roberts sent in a free-kick from the right, Fortune headed on and Sam Teale was first to react, but he could only direct his header into the arms of Rovers keeper Kyle Phillips.
The home side were much better in the second period and will count themselves unfortunate not to have got something from the game. Joe Swift twice forced Phillips into easy saves and the keeper did well to cut out a Fortune cross.
Clevedon applied the pressure and Phillips saved at full stretch to deny Ben Murray, while former Bath City midfielder Alex Russell came off the bench and caused problems from set-pieces but Rovers centre-backs Mapstone and Scott Brice held firm.