Thursday, February 27, 2014
Okehampton Argyle 3, Sidmouth Town 1
Playing only their second South West Peninsula League, Eastern Division match in the past two months there was the predicable element of rustiness about the Vikings all-round performance, writes Steve Birley.
However, the rusty nature of the proceedings was not the general play! It was the finishing which, had it been better, then Town would surely have returned from the long trip with something to show for their efforts.
The long-awaited debuts for Andrew Thompson and Mike Pidgeon finally too place as both made the starting eleven. After a lengthy lay-off from competitive action the Vikings would have been forgiven for a disjointed start, but the exact; opposite applied as they were quickly out of the blocks and into their stride!
Jake Boyland was a central figure I the early attacking endeavour and it was he who fired Town ahead as early as the fifth minute when he coolly slotted home after a delightful through ball from new man Thompson.
There followed a brace of opportunities that were spurned by Andy Isaac whilst the impressive Thompson became the chief architect of all the promising moves Town were making and it was he who stung the hands of the Okehampton keeper with a powerfully driven free-kick. Still the chances came, and went! Boyland twice fluffed his lines when well placed and half chances presented themselves to Alex Raistrick, Dan Tavender and Pidgeon, but none were taken and, as so often happens in this sort of a game, just before the break, then home side, who had spent much of then first half back pedalling, scored on the break to go in on level terms!
That goal clearly did wonders for the home spirit whilst it knocked the stuffing out of the Vikings who made a slow start to the second half, conceded two goals, and spent the last half hour trying to claw back a 3-1 deficit.
In that time Thompson and Boyland both saw efforts cannon back off the frame of the goal and the Okehampton gloves man pulled off a number of remarkable saves.
An upbeat Town boss Paddy Thomas said: “We’ll certainly play worse and win. It was pleasing tom see us dominate and the standard of our general play was impressive. The down side was that we did not take our chances and, rather than travel home basking in a comfortable success, we were left to consider what might have been! Good sides punish teams when they are on top. Myself and Oggy (assistant boss Nick Ogden) are looking at it positively and going forward it looks promising. Defending as a team, as one unit, needs working on, but the players, to a man, could not be faulted for their collective attitude and desire.”
Saturday sees Town play host to Totnes and Dartington with the Manstone Lane kick-off being 3pm.