Baker save sees SOHC into Devon Cup last four

Sidmouth & Ottery 5th played Sidmouth & Ottery C on Saturday. Ref shsp 1060-04-15TI. Picture: Terry

Sidmouth & Ottery 5th played Sidmouth & Ottery C on Saturday. Ref shsp 1060-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth and Ottery (SOHC) men’s first team booked a Devon Cup semi-final berth in dramatic circumstances on Sunday when they won a sudden-death penalty flick shoot-out at Sidmouth against Ashmoor, writes Steve Birley.

The day before the team had been edged out by the odd goal in five in a Southern League meeting with Okehampton. At the same time, Ashmoor were thrashing Plymouth Marjon 7-0 to remain unbeaten and table-toppers in the Conference South table, one division above SOHC!

The quarter-final was a terrific contest, one that either side could have won in normal time.

Ashmoor started with the sort of confidence a side with a 12-match unbeaten league season to date carries with them.

However, SOHC defended well and carried a genuine threat on the break courtesy of the pace of George Powell and Archie Fraser.

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Ashmoor struck first, but Fraser levelled things before half-time. After the break skipper Rich Robinson fired his side into the lead only for Ashmoor to hit back and then take a 3-2 lead with a well-executed drag flick at a short corner.

SOHC threw everything they had at bagging an equaliser and it eventually came late on when Powell netted from a tight angle.

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The closing stages saw Ashmoor powering forward and a yellow card forced SOHC to play a man down for the last few minutes. To a man they stood their ground to take the tie to penalty flicks.

Both sides struck the post during the five penalties they each had, and, with each side netting four of their five it meant a sudden death shoot-out!

Skipper Robinson stepped forward and fired his flick home and then SOHC keeper Simon Baker made a superb save to keep out the first additional flick from Ashmoor to launch the home celebrations!

Robinson said: “It was a terrific performance from our team. Taking league form into consideration I guess we were serious underdogs. However, we showed from the first whistle that we were not going to roll over and there was a lot of character shown by the team. At the end of the game, and before the penalty flicks, I made a point of congratulating the team on their efforts. To play like that and come off all square against a powerful opposition side was as much as I could ask for. In a way that took a bit of pressure off us for the shoot-out. That said, when I asked for volunteers to take the penalty flicks, seven hands shot up, such was the confidence in the ranks.”

SOHC will now meet Marjon A in the semi-final with the game being played in Plymouth and it must be played before March 31.

Ironically Robinson and his team travel to Plymouth this Saturday (January 31) to take on Plymouth Marjon B in a league game. No doubt there will be interested watchers connected to the Marjon A team!

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