Sidbury Utd 3, Witheridge 1

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Division One

Sidbury have been without a game since the Dec 8. The first game back was to third- placed Witheridge who were six points behind the Gulls but with two games in hand, so a very tough game was expected and, with top- of-the-league Chard playing fourth place Bow, it was the biggest weekend of the season so far.

On what was a very sticky pitch and Sidbury missing Danny Green up front, the manager asked for the other strikers to step up and they didn’t disappoint.

Sidbury started well enough considering the length of time without game, but it was Witheridge who struck first in the 16th minute when a long punt by the keeper was not cleared by Pete Godbeer. The ball found its way out wide and a cross/shot went in the box, the clearance missed by Russ Coombes. The ball fell to the striker from six yards who made no mistake.

Sidbury were only behind for five mins though when the hard-working Sam Elstub lost the ball 35 yards from goal. He chased back, won it on the half way line and then drove into the Witheridge half, before whipping the ball into the 18 yard box for the club’s top scorer Dave Green to control and smash to the inside of the near post to level the score. Sidbury had the better of the rest of the half with Ash Small and Elstub having good chances to put them ahead but the score stayed 1-1 till half time.

Witheridge began the second half well and forced a good save from Jamie Harvey on the hour mark. Witheridge chances became few and far between with the defence of Churchill, Godbeer, Channing and Coombes not letting anyone get in behind and clearing any long balls with Channing and Coombes the stand outs.

As the game wore on, Sidbury grew more confident and started to control the game with captain Seldon and his midfield partners Salter and Benyon showing more commitment than their Witheridge counterparts and enabling Sidbury to create more and more chances.

Sidbury took the lead in the 70th min when the ball fell to Benyon 30 yards out. He drove a shot into the box which found its way to the feet of Ash Small whose cleaver flick found the brilliant Elstub who slotted in his fourth of the season to put Sidbury 2-1 up. Witheridge began to pile on the pressure with more long balls but Sidbury were up for the fight and new signing Jamie Connett showed why he was signed with some determined defending after coming on for injured Godbeer.

Sidbury still created the better chances but could not kill the game off until the 92nd min when Witheridge pumped the ball into box only for sub and Exeter City legend Steve Flack to head away the ball which was then cleared to the half way line on the left flank.

Black Horse Man of the Match Ash Small picked the ball up, dribbled half the pitch beating two defenders before slotting the ball between the keeper’s legs to make it 3-1.

Manager Jez Schofield said: “Everyone was fantastic and worked so hard, I asked for the front men to give me an extra 20 per cent in terms of work rate and they stepped up to the plate with all three scoring. We need to apply ourselves like this every week if we want to stay unbeaten. We are now just one point behind with a game in hand.” Sidbury have the chance to go top this week as Chard don’t have and game and Sidbury have a tricky trip to Uni.

●The club is looking for a new match ball sponsor and anyone who may be interested in looking after the pitch midweek - please call Jeremy Schofield on 07979 565468.

Team Harvey 8, Churchill 8, Godbeer 8, Channing 9, Coombes 9, Salter 8, Benyon 9, Seldon 9, Elstub 9, Green 9, Small 10 Subs Connett 8, Flack 7, Bacon 7

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