Carpenter sparkles as Ottery U13s are edged out in thrilling contest

PUBLISHED: 20:11 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 20:11 26 February 2019

Ottery U13 goalkeeper Jack Hembrow about to make a save in the meeting with Exeter Panthers. Picture STEPHEN UPSHER

Ottery U13 goalkeeper Jack Hembrow about to make a save in the meeting with Exeter Panthers. Picture STEPHEN UPSHER

Archant

Ottery St Mary Under-13s went down narrowly, beaten 1-0 by much-fancied Exeter Panthers.

Action from the Ottery U13s meeting with Exeter Panthers. Picture STEPHEN UPSHERAction from the Ottery U13s meeting with Exeter Panthers. Picture STEPHEN UPSHER

Post match, Ottery boss Addy Carpenter remarked: “I don’t like losing, but if you’re going to lose, that’s the way to lose.”

He was speaking after seeing his team go toe-to-toe with a very competent Exeter-based side.

It was a battling performance from Ottery and a hard result to stomach, especially as the only goal of the game at Washbrook Meadows came in the manner it did after just two minutes.

Ottery failed to clear a Panthers clearance and the ball fell to one of their strikers, whose volley looked to be saved by Jack Hembrow only for the ball to squirm into the home side’s net.

Jake Blackmore in action against Exeter Panthers. Picture STEPHEN UPSHERJake Blackmore in action against Exeter Panthers. Picture STEPHEN UPSHER

It was a bitter pill to swallow, but the goal only seemed to push Ottery forward in search of an equaliser.

Ollie Milton was the chief instigator, marauding down the left flank and sending in a cross that narrowly eluded Freddie Clarke on the far post.

Man of the Match Jack Carpenter grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and in a typical surging run on 10 minutes found Milton in space, but the midfielder’s cross in to the box was cleared by Panthers.

Ottery were undeterred and playing some lovely football. In the 25th minute, midfield playmaker Jake Blackmore found Finn Upsher with a sumptuous through ball. Upsher slipped his marker and sent in a first time shot that slipped just wide of the Panthers’ far post.

In the 33rd minute, Ottery thought they had equalised with a flowing move that had assistant manager Mark Gleeson purring with delight. Finn Giles found Milton in space down the left, who chipped the ball into Upsher in the box.

The leading scorer looked to have lost his footing, but recovered to send a fierce drive into the Panthers’ net. Ottery celebrated only to look around and see the linesman flagging for offside!

In the second half, Ottery brought on Alfie Gibbins as they continued their search for a breakthrough and it was a curling Sam Gleeson free-kick that almost did the trick, with Panthers desperately clearing their lines.

Upsher was proving a handful down the left and, during one attack, beat his marker and cut in from the by-line only for the Panthers keeper to pounce on the loose ball.

At the back, Tom Bennett was in particularly good form alongside the solid Rowan Hewitt and skipper Fin Lashbrook.

But try as they might, Ottery just couldn’t find the breakthrough and slipped to only their third defeat of the season.

Manager Carpenter, who is convinced Panthers will go on and win the title, was proud of his battling side.

He said: “I’m absolutely buzzing. It was such a good performance from everyone in the team and we can take great heart from our contribution to a enthralling contest.”

This Saturday (March 2), Ottery, who remain fifth in the table, entertain the team sitting immediately above them, fourth-placed West Exe.

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