Sidmouth Town face ‘must not lose’ game at Alphington

PUBLISHED: 11:43 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:43 28 December 2017

Sidmouth football club's flood lights. Ref shsp 51 17TI 5324. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth football club's flood lights. Ref shsp 51 17TI 5324. Picture: Terry Ife

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Sidmouth Town banked a single point from their two festive East Devon derby meetings as they followed up a Christmas Saturday 2-2 draw at Axminster Town with a 3-1 defeat on their Boxing Day visit to Budleigh Salterton.

The game at Axminster saw Town get their own back on the Tigers in as much as when the teams met at Manstone Lane in early November the visitors had taken a point by netting the game’s sixth and final goal with what proved to be the last kick of the contest - and the Vikings did exactly the same at Tiger Way last Saturday!

The home side twice led, but goals from Rob Knight and a last-gasp effort from Matt Clenaghan secured Town a share of the spoils.

In the Boxing Day game at Budleigh, Town slipped to defeat, but Vikings’ boss Josh Stunell was very clear as to what the difference had been between the two teams. He explained saying: “Aaron Denny was outstanding and he was the difference. He took his two goals clinically.”

Stunell continued: “Hand on heart, I was pleased with the performance from the lads across both derby matches. We did not play badly in either and I guess coming out of the two with only a point to show for our efforts just underlines that there really are very fine margins at this level. A draw was absolutely a fair result at Axminster, both teams contributed well to a good contest and both deserved to have something to show for their efforts. Against Budleigh we again produced a solid performance. Indeed, of the five chances we had in the game we managed to take one – while they had three and took them all. It was only that finishing – and classy it was too – from young Denny that made all the difference.”

Taking just the one point from the two festive games means that this Saturday’s visit to Alphington is now a game of great importance to the Vikings.

Stunell says: “We have now played 21 of our 32 league games and, after this match at Alphington, will have 10 to play with seven of those at our Manstone Lane home.

“Given the Alphas’ current status of being the basement dwellers I’d have to say this is a game we cannot afford to lose. We did beat them 3-0 at our place in early November and a similar result on Saturday would certainly ease the pressure in terms of our own situation.”

He continued: “That said, I am not even close to pressing any panic buttons – far from it – the form of the lads is good and we can travel to Exeter with confidence that we have more than enough in our locker to get the right result.”

● South West Peninsula League, Eastern Division bottom half of the table after the Boxing Day games

Torridgeside 12 7 2 3 34 19 23

Brixham AFC 17 5 7 5 30 32 22

Sidmouth Town 21 5 6 10 39 50 21

Ilfracombe Town 14 5 4 5 22 25 19

Galmpton & Roselands 18 5 2 11 26 37 17

Honiton Town 18 4 4 10 30 42 16

Appledore 16 4 4 8 18 42 16

Liverton United 17 3 2 12 18 42 11

Alphington 17 3 2 12 21 47 11

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