Clayden strike sees SOHC men’s 1st XI to victory – and joint top spot

Sidmouth and Ottery A at home to Okehampton. Ref shsp 08-17TI 7476. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth and Ottery A at home to Okehampton. Ref shsp 08-17TI 7476. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club (SOHC) men’s 1st XI sit joint top of the Southern One table after a 3-2 win away at PGSOB A.

SOHC travelled down the A38 Expressway with a bare 11 and without their regular goalkeeper and then found themselves battling a good home side in wet and windy conditions.

However, they made confident start and soon began to dominate the play, certainly in their final third and the middle third. However, with low work rates and inconsistent touches from most of the team, SOHC did not seem to have a cutting edge in the final third!

That all changed when, after 20 minutes of dogged possession with no end product, the midfielders finally broke into the opposition D where Nick Mansfield scored a diving tap-in at the back post, tucking home a superb cross from Jack Ellison.

The home side hit back, albeit against the run of play with a short corner and, perhaps boosted by their leveller, struck again to take a 2-1 lead into the interval.

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The interval saw the SOHC players tuck into jelly babies and they were given an inspirational half-time talk from skipper George Powell. However, the second half carried more of the same from the visitors’ until Lee Clayden won a penalty flick from a short that Jack Ellison slotted into the bottom left corner of the net to restore parity.

When another short corner was won, Clayden slapped the ball loudly against the backboard to fire SOHC into a 3-2 lead.

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That seemed to spark the team into an increase in work-rate and a determination to hold the lead was seen across the pitch and, despite the home side going close a few times in a frenetic ending, SOHC held firm to take the points.

The SOHC Man of the Match award went to Jon Hext for his outstanding contribution in defence, particularly in the final five minutes and credit must also be given the forward George Powell, who stepped up as a make-shift goalkeeper and did the job very well.

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