Drama and excitement

Sidmouth Town U16s 3, Cully Rangers 3

A capacity crowd at The Pop was treated to a stunning comeback from Sidmouth, who recovered from being 3-0 down to equalise in the last few minutes and actually finish the match unlucky not to take all three points, writes Dickie Seldon.

The first half-hour was best forgotten as Sidmouth struggled to get any flow to their game and conceded two soft goals and they were soon 3-0 down.

Sidmouth finally got a lifeline through Will Sanders’ lobbed goal just before the break.

Sidmouth came out of their half-time ‘chat’ with Manager Seldon a completely different outfit. A couple tactical changes saw skipper Doug Still play deeper, allowing wide men Will Jenkins and Sanders to push on. Sanders was later replaced by the lightning-quick Henry Ho, who had the Cully defence worried with his pace, allowing space and momentum for Sidmouth to camp in the Cully half. With full-backs Isaac Thomas and Joe Griffiths once again showing real determination and grit, Sidmouth now had the foundation to build attack after attack. Still, Arya Ashtari and Joe Blackmore were now winning the midfield battle and the fight was on! With 20 minutes to go, the skilful Jenkins was awarded a penalty after actually being felled twice in the box! With his customary cool head, Jenks placed the ball home firmly to reduce the deficit further.

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Sidmouth were now knocking on the door, and a succession of Blackmore corners first saw centre-back Dan Hulin head narrowly over, then saw Hulin sustain an impressive-looking head injury which forced him off with 10 minutes to go, replaced by Dan Corrick. Sidmouth felt they had scored the equaliser when Blackmore saw his shot hit the underside of the bar and seemingly bounce over the line, only to be denied by the Cully linesman. Hard-working centre-forward Conor Ellis then burst through but was denied by a superb tackle, Henry Ho was a toenail away from stabbing home, shortly followed by Ashtari being denied by a fine save. Just as it looked like time was running out, Corrick ghosted in unmarked at the near post to glance home another Blackmore corner to spark amazing scenes as the whole squad ‘bundled’ in a heap and the spectators celebrated wildly!! The comeback was complete!

Sidmouth just need to play like the 2nd half and think about what was missing in the 1st, but all in all this was what football is all about ;- drama and excitement!

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This Saturday Sidmouth are at home again, looking for vengeance for an early season defeat to Central; be at The Pop for a 10.30 start.

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