Thursday, March 27, 2014
Newton Poppleford 0, Beacon Knights 3
The Popples produced a hard-working display before going down to the Exeter-based visitors, writes Ken Woodsford.
With Liam Hayman, Mark Gerry, Nick Baxter and Andrew Baxter all unavailable, Jimmy Chalmers and Tom Clay returned to the starting line-up, with Manager Cliff Cooper naming himself as the only substitute.
The ‘damage’ in terms of the final score owed much to the Popples ‘switching-off’ for five minutes midway through the second half, gifting two soft goals, and the three points, to Beacon Knights.
In a midfield dominated first half, Beacon Knights continually looked dangerous down their right flank. Popples centre backs Matt Tett and Tom Clay proved a good match for the visitors and with keeper Alex Bowring dealing confidently with any crosses and long range shots, the Popples looked relatively untroubled, until a Beacon Knights corner was headed home unchallenged at the far post.
The game remained very competitive until the sixty-eighth minute when Mark Tett ran from behind two defenders to volley home a superb shot from twenty yards, only to see the Beacon Knights replacement linesman raise his flag, for a hotly disputed offside!
This setback seemed to unsettle the home team, and, within five minutes, they had conceded two further goals. The first, from another soft far post header, and then a sorry second when a forward was allowed to run through two limp tackles before squaring for a team mate to tap the ball home.
With Chris Harwood struggling from a clash of heads, 57-year-old Manager, Cliff Cooper, came on for the final fifteen minutes in the heart of the defence.
Newton Poppleford are now looking a stronger and tougher outfit than earlier in the season. They will aim to continue their improvement against Wellington Town at home on Saturday (3pm).