SDFL premier division

Watcombe Wanderers 2,

Ivybridge Town reserves 2

Going into the penultimate game of the season, and despite a mid-table finish secured, Ivybridge knew they would have a big hand in how the league title would be decided.

They travelled to last season's champions Watcombe ahead of facing title challengers ­Buck­land Athletic reserves at home next weekend.

After electing to play down the considerable slope in the first half the Ivies knew a good start was imperative, as the home side are past masters of using the pitch to their advantage.

As Ivybridge worked tirelessly to repel the threat of Watcombe's advances, it was the home side who created the clear-cut chances, although thankfully for the Ivies they were unusually wasteful in front of goal.

With Ivybridge un­able to gain a first-half advantage, they knew they were in for a battle as Watcombe had the advantage of the slope, but this did not deter the visitors as they matched them in every department.

The defence of Chris Graddon, Mike Sum­mers, James Watt and Lewis Foot was in outstanding form along with midfielders Aaron Weeks, Jon McClem­ents, Adam Bell, Paul Hayman and Simon McClements putting on a great shift.

Ivybridge then lost Chris Smallridge, as the normally placid forward reacted to a bad challenge to see red for the first time in his career, and the following melee saw the Watcombe defender also see red.

Ivybridge then took the lead as substitute George Rayfield-North took the ball down the left before cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard effort into the far corner.

The same player then gave the Ivies a two-goal lead as he again made headway down the left before deceiving the Watcombe 'keeper as the ball found its way into the net on his near post, giving the home side a mountain to climb with 20 minutes left.

With 10 minutes remaining they reduced the deficit as Sean Finch scored with a volley as Watcombe threw everything they could at the visitors.

With the referee somehow managing to find an extra seven minutes of injury time, Watcombe got the equaliser.

Despite what seemed like a push on Ivy­bridge captain James Watt, they scored from a corner to earn a share of the spoils, although it was not the result they needed in their pursuit of retaining the title.

The reserves host Buckland Athletic reserves next Saturday in their final game, 2.30pm kick-off.