DOWNTON returned to the top of the Wessex League Division One after they beat visiting local rivals Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1-0 last Saturday, writes ROGER ALLEN.

This was the first League game between these two local rivals since 2014 and the Robins were deprived of a bumper crowd by the awful weather.

The game was settled by a single goal five minutes from the end but there was no shortage of incident prior to that.

Bemerton started strongly and had a shot deflected wide in the first few seconds.

Downton goalkeeper Ernest Osei in trying to punch clear, only succeeded in clearing his own cross bar by inches.

From the resulting corner Kane O'Keefe had a clear chance but headed over.

The next opportunity fell to Bemerton's Jake Burgess whose shot was deflected to safety by his own player.

Then a smart move involving Eddie Perrett and Burgess ended with O'Keefe having a shot deflected wide.

Finally after 20 minutes Downton made some headway and Robbie Owen had two shots on goal in quick succession, but both were blocked. Shortly after, Bemerton goalkeeper Paddy Creese had a lucky escape as his attempted clearance cannoned to safety off his own player.

Just prior to half time O'Keefe had a point blank shot from a corner blocked by a Downton defender on the line.

The half ended with Downton having a shot by Abdul Razak blocked at the expense of a corner and an effort by Owen that went wide.

The second half started quietly in comparison to the first and only came to life on the hour when Bemerton's recent signing George Bennett had a drive that went narrowly wide.

Both sides had chances in the following period and the game was becoming end to end.

However it looked as though neither side would be able to make the breakthrough.

Creese pulled off a smart double save from Owen and Jamie Waters and at the other end Burgess was just wide with an attempted lob.

Finally on 85 minutes the goal came and it was a good move started by Diego Romero, carried on by Sam Howe and ended in a cross by Matt Steer that was headed in at the far post by Owen.

In lengthy stoppage time Downton's Waters received a second yellow card as he went to ground attempting to block a shot, but from the resulting free-kick Jake Rawkins sent Bemerton's last effort wide.

Downton will look to remain top of the table when they entertain Whitchurch United on Saturday.