Newton Poppleford lose again, but show signs of improvement.

10:57 13 March 2014

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University 6, Newton Poppleford 1

It is looking unlikely that Newton Poppleford will be playing in Division One next season after their twenty first defeat on the bounce, writes Ken Woodsford.

However, the players will be throwing the kitchen sink at their opponents for the remaining seven games of the season, to try and gain that elusive first win of the

campaign.

Last Saturday, the Popples started with a more attacking and energetic looking line up, and almost opened the scoring in the third minute when a cross from the left was almost converted by Matt Tett at the far post. Two minutes later it was a familiar story as University broke down their own left flank and their winger sent in a fine cross to unmarked centre forward Callum Miller who had time to pick his spot with a neat header. Newton Poppleford almost levelled when Mark Tett headed a cross narrowly

over the bar. With the visitors pressing, a swift breakaway found the University forwards to quick for the Popples back four, and their striker fired in a second from

close range. Liam Hayman reduced the arrears to 2-1 when he latched on to a ball from Chris Harwood, outpaced the home defence a fired across the keeper. For the remainder of the half the visitors dug in and chances were created at both ends. Keeper Alex Bowring tipped two fierce goal bound efforts over the bar, to keep the visitors in the game. University, with classy central midfielder Josh Hammond pulling the strings always looked to have another gear, and right on half time made it 3-1 when a corner was flicked on at the near post, and slid home at the far post.

With both teams knowing the next goal would be vital, Mark Tett sliced open the Uni defence five minutes in to the second period, and just needing to square the ball to unmarked Stewart Pile, Tett blazed wildly over the bar from an acute angle. Tett then ran through again and his shot brought a flying save from the home keeper, who then reproduced this effort to keep out another close range effort several minutes later.

Stewart Pile, Hayman and Blake Blackwood were giving the Uni defence all sorts of problems, closing defenders down with their work rate, and several more chances came and went, before Uni striker Miller scored with a brilliant solo effort, picking the ball up thirty yards out and dribbling past three defenders and keeper Alex Bowring to slot home to make it 4-1. Substitutes Nick Baxter and Andrew Baxter were introduced to provide fresh legs, and the visitors continued to battle well in midfield, but the fitness of the students finally told on the visitors as they conceded two further goals during the final five minutes. Despite the score line, this was the Popples best display, as an attacking force for many weeks, and if they can reproduce this effort in their next three home games, they will score the goals, and gain the results they deserve.

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