Thursday, September 26, 2013
Apollo 2, Sidmouth Town Vikings 1
Town Under-18s were unlucky not to return with something to show for their considerable efforts at Torquay.
The pitch the side’s were asked to play on was not fit for purpose! The playing area was below the mandatory size and it was clear that to combat the slope the groundsman had had to build up the goal mouths to create a flat area which resulted in one side of each goal mouth having a five inch drop on the edge of the penalty area!
Vikings made a good start and kept the ball very well. When the home side countered they got no change of an organised Vikings back line.
Midfield duo Will Jenkins and CJ Bray made some spirited runs and, as the first half drew to a close Joe Griffith’s long throw was headed home by Joe Gosse to send Vikings into the break one up.
In the second half the hosts used a more direct and physical approach despite some fine defending from Rob Mansfield and Matty Allen and some excellent goal keeping from Jake Harrison.
The equaliser arrived in the 65th minute and then disaster struck with the surface a key factor in Joe Gosse limping off with an ankle injury.
The home side scored again late on, but in a spirited closing period a fine cross from James Orchard was narrowly missed by substitute Liam Morrish.
A 2-1 defeat was cruel on the Vikings who were the better team over the 90 minutes.
Rob Mansfield won the Man of the Match award for his splendid shift in defence, overall it was a great performance by the whole team.
Apollo will find the return match at Sidmouth a hard contest, and Sidmouth’s more fluid play will take advantage of the superior full sized pitch at Manstone.