Beat Dragons in style
Having enjoyed a seven game unbeaten run coming into the final fixture before the Christmas break, Sidmouth were keen to solidify their mid-table position with a win against Bodmin writes Ian Brown
Having enjoyed a seven game unbeaten run coming into the final fixture before the Christmas break, Sidmouth were keen to solidify their mid-table position with a win against Bodmin, who coming into the fixture, stood one place and six points above their hosts.Recalling a fair defeat at the hands of Bodmin on the first day of the season, Andrew Welch's men could remember an unsavoury encounter and were keen not to allow their visitors' agricultural style to rile them as it had done before. Previously, the feisty character of Andrew Mapson would have been a target for 'winding up' by a team like Bodmin. However, having undertaken a recent leadership course, Mapson pleasingly managed to show a newfound controlled aggression and was apparently ignorant of the visitor's antagonism.This, coupled with the measured approach that Sidmouth took to the game, clearly frustrated the opposition and allowed the hosts to enjoy sustained periods of possession. The combination of Welch and Scott Rowson, both closing in on their late 30s, in the central midfield position may not give Sidmouth a great deal in the way of pace, but it does provide a solid platform for the likes of Dan Devine to build on.Devine has really come into his own in recent weeks. In particular his movement off the ball has improved, allowing Paul Gannon to find him with his sniper-like 16-yard hits. Unusually for Gannon though, his secret weapon - the pinpoint precision that his team have come to rely on recently -seemingly deserted him when striking short corners.Instead, Sidmouth managed to take the lead, courtesy of a rare open play goal. Good interplay on the edge of the circle between youngsters Byron Fitzgerald and Chris Lewis created an opportunity for Nick Wade to step forward in his customary, nonchalant style and put the ball away to make it 1-0. Early in the second half the Dragons lived up to their nickname and were clearly fired up by going behind to a team they considered inferior. This led to the hefty Bodmin coach substituting himself for their right winger who was clearly frustrated by being constantly thwarted by the home defence. Playing at left half, Graham Pidgeon took responsibility for marking the coach who, like Pidgeon, looked like he was probably once a useful player. Despite appearing slightly heavier than his opposite number, the Bodmin coach possessed a handy turn of pace, allowing him to skip past his marker. The resulting attack led to a Bodmin short corner which they managed to convert. In the following moments, Gannon was forced to take himself off having suffered a hamstring strain. Whereas earlier in the season, the hosts would have settled for a point in the circumstances, their new found confidence saw the home side press on a search for the victory, earning themselves a short corner in the process. With usual striker Gannon off the pitch, a different routine was forced, resulting in Devine scoring the winner with almost the last hit of the match to make Sidmouth unbeaten in their last eight games and finishing the first half of the season in style.