Sidmouth Town latest - a chat with the Vikings' boss

PUBLISHED: 11:09 10 January 2020

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6747. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6747. Picture: Terry Ife

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Sidmouth Town secured their first clean sheet of the South West Peninsula League Premier East campaign as they drew 0-0 at Manstone Lane with Dartmouth United.

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6745. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6745. Picture: Terry Ife

Since a 0-0 score line in their November 11, Devon Bowl game at Holsworthy [the Vikings lost that match as it then went to a penalty shoot-out] Town have been beaten just once in four outings.

The best of a number of first half chances for Town fell first to Jack Hatswell, this after a great run and cross from Fez Bodor, but, with the goal at his mercy, young Hatswell failed to connect allowing the glovesman to gather and then, after a terrific ball from Ben Miller, Matt Felt missed the target.

In the second half Town played for a spell a man down after a sin-binning for Ben Clay, and Town goalkeeper Josh McLean made a number of superb saves to leave honours even.

Speaking after the dust had settled on the point that kept Town from slipping to the bottom of the table [basement side Torrington beat Crediton which means the point Town got against Dartmouth keeps them above the bottom side on goal difference] Vikings boss Danny Burwood said: "It was certainly a frustrating game from our perspective. We had prepared as best we could, but we, like all other sides, have had a lengthy lay-off with matches called off pre Christmas and then the festive break which has meant a minimal amount of training. However, the lads did really well on Saturday. They were clearly 'up for it' and collectively worked very hard and I certainly did not see any issues with regard to player fitness."

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6755. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6755. Picture: Terry Ife

He continued: "The one thing that let us down was finishing, but that's a by-product of limited training for, had we been in a run of games with regular training then I am sure we'd have found the target a number of times and we certainly could have gone in on Saturday leading 4-0 at the break!"

The Town boss had high praise for his back line. He said: "The defence was magnificent. I'm not saying that the flow of the contest was all us - and, when they [Dartmouth] came at us, the back line, and in particular Tom Diamond, were superb."

He continued: "We gave a debut to Lewis Pocock who is the son of Paul [the recent addition to the Town management team, Paul Pocock] and the youngster certainly settled in quickly in the right back berth."

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6761. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6761. Picture: Terry Ife

The clean sheet was something to savour for the Town boss who said: "Josh [McLean] was outstanding in goal. His kicking, handling and decision making on the edge of the box has been fantastic. He made a couple of great saves in each half and was fully deserving of his clean sheet."

There was one area of disappointment for the Town boss, something he alluded to when he said: "As I have said before, we really do tend to be our own worst enemies. This was another game in which our defence have trooped off the pitch feeling that it was 'another job well done' but, at the other end of the pitch we have missed chances which are the difference between having one point and not taking all three!

"Mind you, I was just as much to blame as the other guys who missed the target! With five minutes to go I committed the cardinal footballing sin of being in two minds as to what to do when the ball fell to me with the goal gaping - do I volley or head ? and, as so often happens in such cases, I ended up doing neither and the chance went begging."

He added: "On reflection it was just one of those days when the ball was just not going in the net. I'd put it down to a lack of playing and the boys being a bit rusty and a need to be a bit more composed in and around the box and that goes for myself as well. It's difficult for me to have a go at them when I'm doing it myself.

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6763. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6763. Picture: Terry Ife

"When you look at it like that, it's two points dropped but we haven't lost the game. We're pleased with how things are going in at the moment."

Tomorrow (Saturday) Town head for Cullompton Rangers. Burwood says: "It's going to be a difficult one, we've played them twice already and they've scored a few good goals against us.

"We're looking to keep it tight at the back and see what we can get out of the game. It's a massive task for us but one we are relishing."

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6775. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6775. Picture: Terry Ife

The Town boss then turned his thoughts to more general matters. He said: "Look, we know we're in a bit of a dogfight. Although over the last three or four games, we've picked up and played some decent stuff.

"As far as we're concerned every single week there is a little bit more motivation."

He continued: "We knew from matchday one that was going to be a tough season so where we are now is not a huge surprise. Adding to our woes has been that we have lost quite a few players from last year and we have gone up a level of the game, these factors combined with others things have not helped.

"However, none of us are quitters and we will continue to work hard to turn things round.

Sidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6778. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Town at home to Dartmouth. Ref shsp 02 20TI 6778. Picture: Terry Ife

"So far this campaign we have dropped a few points in the games against teams that are in and around us in the table.

"This season is all about rebuilding and giving it a good push. If we can improve every week then the good folk running the club will stay with us and a big collective effort, on and off the pitch, with us all recognising that 'we are in this together - and to the end' will see us through and I am very confident that will mean ending the season in a position of safety in the table."

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