Winscombe registered their eighth win on the bounce with a dogged display in this niggly affair against third-placed Berrow. With Winscombe sportingly fielding ten players to match the under-strength visitors, these three points consolidate the home side's position level on points with Portishead at the top of the table. But the margin of victory was much narrower than the opening 20 minutes might have suggested.
Repeating the excellent out-of-the-blocks start against Portishead the previous weekend, Winscombe took the lead after just three minutes when Isaac Hale deftly controlled a sliced defensive clearance and finished smartly. 1-0.
The lead could easily have been doubled within a matter of minutes. Lone frontman Dougie Gait latched onto a Dylan Coates through-ball, but saw his effort go agonisingly wide. Jackson Cook then went close, before another Gait strike was tipped round the post by Berrow's alert keeper.
But a second goal felt inevitable and when Hale's shot was parried, Gait was there to pounce and double the advantage. 2-0. The third – and arguably the best of the day – came within a couple of minutes when Cook, released by some tidy play down the right by Riley Sinclair, turned on the turbos to advance on goal and fire an unstoppable low shot into the far corner. 3-0.
It looked as though Winscombe had – literally – been handed a fourth when they were awarded a penalty for handball, but deadball specialist Hale put his spot-kick wide.
In the closing minutes of the half, Finn Williamson went close when his rasping shot was tipped around the post by the Berrow keeper who was keeping her team in the game.
Then, with the referee poised to blow for half-time, a rare Berrow corner was unfortunately helped into his own net by Winscombe sticksman Oli Lovell. 1-3.
From having looked assured after 20 minutes, Winscombe began to wobble in the opening exchanges of the second half and, ten minutes in, couldn't stop a fine individual Berrow goal. 3-2. However, showing the spirit and confidence that has flowed through the side all season, Winscombe's response was immediate, with the Hale/Gait axis of excellence again bearing fruit. The former's pin-point through-ball released the latter whose first-time shot reinstated the two-goal advantage, as well as extending his own rich vein of form. 4-2. Winscombe nearly made it five when Ted Palmer netted late on, only to register his disappointment at seeing an offside flag from the linesman.
And if six goals and some super-competitive challenges weren't enough to keep the faithful entertained, there was also a rather surreal pitch invasion, when a woman bearing an umbrella made her way onto the soggy pitch to enquire about the general welfare of the players.
While not making in-roads into Portishead's superior goal difference, the win nonetheless nullified any ambitions that Berrow might have had on making a late surge for Winscombe's second place in the table. And with the league leaders notching up another big win, the best chance of the mighty Blues nabbing the league title lies with Portishead dropping points. This eighth consecutive win – the best start to a season that evergreen boss Keith Sinclair has ever experienced in 13 long years of management – means that Winscombe are doing as much as they can to bring some silverware home to BS25.