De-Cruz and Winchcombe net, but Otters drop points after being held by Sandford

Ottery away at Otterton. Ref shsp 07-18TI 7645. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery away at Otterton. Ref shsp 07-18TI 7645. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary let slip a 2-1 half-time lead to share the spoils in their Macron League Division Three home game against Sandford.

The Otters made a bright start and went close a couple of times before falling behind – very much against the run of play.

Johnny De-Cruz and Kurtis Winchcombe scored the goals that gave the Otters a 2-1 half-time advantage.

After the break, the Otters again made a bright start and could, perhaps should, have scored at least twice more to effectively ‘put the game to bed’.

However, the chances went begging and, as so often happens, the opposition grew in confidence the longer the contest ran with just a goal between the teams and it was the Mid Devon side who scored what proved to be the only goal of the second half to end with a share of the spoils.

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Ottery boss Dave Fairweather said: “It is a measure of just how much progress this group of players has made since the early weeks of the season that the home dressing room was very flat post match, for the lads were clearly disappointed that they had let two points slip.”

He continued: “They [Sandford] are a well-drilled outfit and have an 11 in which every one seems to be fully aware of what their job is. Their style is of the ‘direct’ kind and that does not seem to suit us.

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“However, as I have already said, the fact the lads were so down at the end speaks volumes for the work they have been putting in and, taking the positive from the game, the fact is that we are now unbeaten in six games and are building up a head of momentum at just the right time in the campaign.”

? Since the 5-1 defeat at Tipton St John back on December 2, the Otters have put together an impressive run of five wins and a draw – last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sandford bringing to an end a run of five successive wins.

On Saturday Ottery will travel to Pinhoe for a league match, looking to complete a Division Three double over the Exeter side as they beat the Pins 3-2 when they clashed at Washbrook Meadow on the last day of September.

Pinhoe are rock bottom of the table with just three wins and one draw, together with 13 defeats in their 16 league starts so far.

The Pins are without a win since a November 4, 4-3 home win over Clyst Valley Reserves. Since that early November defeat, Pinhoe go into this weekend’s match on a run of five games without a win and they were beaten 4-0 last Saturday at Clyst Valley Reserves.

? The Otters have now scored 46 goals in their 18 league and cup games so far this season.

? In the Bill Slee Cup quarter-finals, Ottery have been drawn against Division Four side Winchester, who are currently enjoying a superb season, sitting second in that division having won 11, drawn two and lost just one of their 14 league games so far.

The Bill Slee Cup tie is set to be played at Washbrook Meadow on Easter Sunday (April 2).

The other three quarter-final ties are: Crediton United versus Tipton St John and Kentisbeare versus Uplowman (both being played on March 3) and Whipton and Pinhoe versus Woodbury, the latter yet to be given a date.

? Friday, June 1, is the date of the 2018 Ottery St Mary AFC senior players awards evening being held at the clubhouse at Washbrook Meadow.

? Jordan Wilkinson and Adam Brook could not be separated in the Otters’ January Player of the Month vote, and so share the honour.

? The Frank Bastin funeral date has been set for February 27 at noon with the service being held at St Mary’s Parish Church, Ottery St Mary.

? The Ottery ladies were in action last Sunday and they were again amongst the goals, beating hosts Keyham Kolts 11-5.

Jane Child led the scoring honours with four goals and there were hat-tricks from Georgia Chapman and Jessica Jenkins. Lauren West was the other Ottery scorer.

On Sunday (February 25), the Otterettes are in South Devon for their latest game with a visit to Plainmoor (2pm).

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