Thursday, May 1, 2014
Sidmouth Town head into tomorrow’s final away game of the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division of the season at Appledore looking to make it four games without defeat, writes Steve Birley.
Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at University followed hot on the heels of last Saturday’s single goal success at Budleigh Salterton.
That was a result that gave the Vikings’ a season’s double over their East Devon rivals.
On Tuesday night it was the student side that started the brighter and they bagged a 21st minute lead when a header flew past keeper Jamie Harvey. Through until the break the University pressed to add to their tally, but got little change out of the solid Vikings’ back line.
Once again it was a half-time talk led by boss Paddy Thomas that saw his side produce a much more energetic and industrious second 45 minutes!
It was no more than they deserved when, midway through the half, a handball in the area was punished with a penalty that Andrew Thompson despatched with aplomb. Thereafter the students looked to respond, but the Town defence stayed firm and ensured that the Vikings returned home with something to show for their considerable second half efforts.
Thomas said: “The University side played good football on what was a massive pitch at Topsham. We had a game plan and everyone brought into it. Chances were few and far between at both ends. Our defence of Jordan Stickland, Mike Stamp, Nick Gingell, and, in particular, Darren Thomas were very organised and tough to break down. Thommo (Andrew Thompson), was also superb, but really it was a great team effort that saw us bring home a point.”
Last Saturday Town made the short trip to Greenway lane, Budleigh Salt looking to continue where they had left off – they’d beaten the Robins at Manstone Lane 3-1 on Good Friday.
Playing against a strong wind before the break the Vikings found it hard to get their usual passing game going. That said the midfield was an area controlled by the silky skilled Andrew Thompson with the hard-working pair of Ben Cole and young Doug Still giving tremendous support. The defence remained disciplined across the back to such a degree that Robbie Powell, in the Town goal, had precious little to do.
At the other end of the pitch wingers Tony Cox and Jake Boyland kept the home full backs busy. The home side started the second half strongly and the Town cause was dealt a big blow with a third of the match still to play when Andy Isaacs bagged a straight red card fro the referee for speaking out of turn.
However, despite being a man down, the Vikings tweaked their formation. Keeper Powell displayed superb handling skills and the four in front of him, Griffiths ,Raistrick, Darren Thomas and Jordan Stickland all dug deep to keep the home strike force at arms length. Manager Thomas shuffled the pack and used his bench with real skill for it was a couple of the substitutes who combined to grab the winner! Thompson started the move buying himself sufficient time in the engine room to send sub Nathan Brace on a 40-yard run at the end of which he played a superbly weighted pass to fellow sub Riki Pitter who rifled in the winner two minutes from time.
Thomas said of the Budleigh win: “We were forced to draft players in as eight of the side who had played on Good Friday were unavailable for a variety of reasons. Sidmouth’s cricket match being off helped – it meant we had Griff (Antony Griffiths) to give us solidity at the back. Jason Stiling and Simon Hudson put in big shifts. The game was won by a class goal not befitting of a scrappy affair. I can say that the collective performance and end result certainly made me proud to be in charge of these players.”