Confidence booster

A resolute performance from an almost full-strength side saw the points shared last weekend when Sidmouth travelled to Minehead.

A resolute performance from an almost full-strength side saw the points shared last weekend when Sidmouth travelled to Minehead. Most pleasing about the performance would have to be the spirit amongst the team that has been rekindled by captain Charlie Plowden who has drawn on his wealth of man-management skills acquired in local government to rally his troops on the hockey field.Whilst various reasons have been bandied around for two heavy defeats in games in the New Year, one indisputable fact is that the forward line has not been at its most potent. The Sidmouth defence was restored to full strength as Paul Gannon returned from injury to command the Sidmouth back line along with Ryan Trawford and Andrew Mapson, who capped solid performances in the half-back positions.The visitors controlled the game from the first whistle, which was mainly due to Sidmouth's strong midfield, controlled by a rejuvenated Andrew Welch in recent weeks.Combining well with exciting young talent Peter Baker, and steady old hand Plowden, the midfielders were able to combine well with the forward line and enjoy long periods of possession. Minehead would certainly have taken the lead were it not for some inspired saves from goalkeeper Jon Hill. Although recent results would suggest otherwise, Hill's recent form has consistently seen his name being first on the team sheet.The hosts took the lead shortly into the second half when a venomous drag flick was stopped on the goal line by Gannon, only for a Minehead forward to tap in the rebound. Going a goal down certainly tested Sidmouth's resolve but recent questions about the character of the team were firmly laid to rest as the relatively young side continued to push on and try to find the equaliser. The home team played a very physical game and pinpointed in particular Bobby Brown. However, the youngster gave as good as he got from his counterparts and was given a harsh green card for a strong tackle against an opponent. The visitors managed to equalise in the latter stages of the second half. Having enjoyed an impressive performance all game, it was Dan Devine who penetrated the home defence, only to unselfishly offload to team-mate Graham Pidgeon for a simple tap in. The visitors left the field with a point but, what is more pleasing and indeed more important, was the manner of the performance. The self-discipline displayed by the team in a scrappy match, coupled with the impressive teamwork amongst the players, culminated in a confidence-boosting result. The team will take this forward into this week's game at home, against relegation favourites ISCA B.

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