First silverware of Vikings’ season

The Vikings’ Sunday side had a lie-in this week as they played in the afternoon final of the Devon Sunday Supplementary Cup, East Area.

The opposition were Starcross Royals, who presumptuously brought champagne and cigars to celebrate their impending victory.

With little need for the team-talk then, Sidmouth started the game strongly and it became apparent to the all the watching Vikings’ support that this was a final for the taking.Playing a 3-5-2 formation it was clear that wide-men Tim Lister and Ash Caldwell had the pace and energy to exploit the long and wide St Martin’s pitch.

However, Royals opened the scoring against the run of play, as a 25-yard bullet left keeper Robbie Powell no chance.

Fortunately this did not faze the Vikings as they continued to dominate possession but with little end product until they were awarded a free-kick to the right-hand side of the box.

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Alex Raistrick stepped up to curl a beauty into the top left with the keeper rooted to the spot. The game ebbed and flowed as the Royals used their experience to put pressure on the Vikings rearguard of the superb Dan Tavender, Chippy Carpenter and Tom Chaplin.

The latter had to be replaced before half-time by Matt Hill after injury. At the break Sidmouth were reminded that this should be their day and with Gary Bargery and Jules Hudson getting more in the game, it was hard for the manager to see how they could lose this match.

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With JP Stanniforth and Nathan Brace holding the midfield, Raistrick was allowed to get into the last third more frequently and, when Lister crossed to the far post, he was on hand to head home. The Royals upped the ante, their left back putting the ball into the box at every opportunity. From one such delivery the Vikings failed to clear their lines, the ball eventually ending in the Sidmouth net.

As full-time approached, an uncharacteristic challenge from skipper Carpenter led to a Royals’ penalty. It looked like the game was up for Sidmouth but Powell pulled off a tremendous stop and the game went to extra-time.

Jason Margrett came on for the injured skipper, as the tie meandered towards penalties. A corner in the closing minutes of the first period was whipped in by Brace to be met firmly by the head of Matt Hill for what would be the decider.

The second period saw chances wasted by the Vikings to put the game out of reach, leaving a nervy final few minutes but Sidmouth held on to be deserving winners.

A wonderful squad effort with special mention to unused subs Nathan Carpenter and Otis Hudson for their first-class team ethic.

Keeper Powell was a worthy Man of the Match.

With the first silverware of the season in the cabinet, the Vikings go on to play Seymour Arms, from Plymouth, in the semi-finals of the County Cup.

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