Plymstock United 0, Sidmouth Town 1

Sidmouth Town returned from a trip to Plymouth with all three points thanks to a second half goal from Dan Tavender.

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The contest was certainly not a classic! Much of that was arguably down to the fact that Town had not played since December 14 and the home side had not taken to the pitch since a December 28, 7-1 mauling at the hands of Totnes.

It also did not help that the surface was very heavy after the recent rain. The first half saw few chances with Plymstock causing danger from set pieces. Town did not look comfortable and were clearly struggling for any sort of rhythm and the ball was not retained with the consistency that Vikings’ boss Paddy Thomas likes to see!

When the home side did break through they found Town keeper Jack Burgess in good form, the gloves man once again showed excellent handling skills and half-time arrived with neither side being able to break the deadlock.

The magic half-time chat worked again for the Vikings had more intent and purpose about their play from the restat.

There was greater urgency and creativity with Dan Tavender at the heart of it all.

Tavender seemed to be in all areas of the pitch; he certainly tackled his heart out whilst, on the opposite flank Greg Chaplin gave the home defence plenty to contemplate.

One thing Town did get wrong with horrible consistency was that it was clearly no use trying to pay football through the middle of a rain sodden pitch!

It became clear that if the deadlock was to be broken then it would have to be via some individual class and Tavender proved just the person to deliver!

He received the ball out wide and promptly dummied to pass inside and opened a huge space for himself to attack from the edge of the box from where he thumped a sweet right-foot shot that was rippling the back of the net before the home keeper moved!

With a goal to hold on to the Vikings began to defend with greater resolve. Burgess bravely punched away from a rare United attack, receiving a bang on his eye for his efforts!

At the other end of the pitch Town created further chances, but were not able to find the clinical finish required.

With injury time approaching Burgess pulled off a double save which ensured all three points went home with the Vikings.

Post match a relieved Paddy Thomas said: “It wasn’t pretty to watch in what were difficult conditions for both sets of players to work in. Our recent inactivity played a part, but that shouldn’t affect the basics of our game. A clean sheet is always pleasing and I am sure the players will know that we need to improve on this showing.”

Frustratingly for Thomas his team have a blank Saturday this weekend. They return to action on Saturday week (January 25) when they are at Axminster with a 2.15pm kick-off at Colyton Grammar School.

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