Full strength, best efforts

Confidence was high on the back of the previous week's first victory of the season.

Confidence was high on the back of the previous week's first victory of the season and a strengthened Sidmouth team took to the pitch confident of a positive result. The postponement of the 2nd XI match meant that captain Andrew Welch had a strong squad of 13. This meant in particular that Jon Pike returned to the first team, having recently dropped down to the seconds in order to boost their firepower. With the Pike family in attendance en masse, the numerous fans could easily have mistaken the match for a game of Family Fortunes with both Carole and Lea Pidgeon there to watch Graham cap a solid performance in the right half position.Pidgeon's role was made considerably easier by the supporting central defensive pair he played alongside, headed by Paul Gannon. Having enjoyed capturing the headlines with his previous week's hat- trick, Gannon was clearly in confident mood, stepping up to put his side a goal in front from a short corner. The hosts continued to control the game to the clear frustration of an East Devon team who have enjoyed a far better start to their season than Sidmouth. Indeed, on paper this should have been a one sided affair given that East Devon won the pre-season friendly when the teams last met. However, key individual performances from players like Andrew Mapson, Bobby Brown and Byron Fitzgerald, who have all improved as the season has progressed, combined with the consistency of Scott Rowson, Welch and Dan Devine that the squad has come to expect, made for a solid team performance.The home side's fitness did start to wane towards the end of the second half which can mainly be attributed to the massive effort in the preceding 60 minutes that the team displayed as a whole. What that did mean was that the visitors were able to capitalise on perhaps a lapse of concentration allowing an East Devon forward an unmarked tap-in at the far post to earn a share of the points.l This week sees what is anticipated to be a fiercely fought encounter as Sidmouth travel to take on rivals Ottery Crickets. Just as the Sidmouth team look to be improving, it seems that Crickets' season is going in the other direction and so Welch's men can be confident of picking up a second successive away victory this week at the Colin Tooze Sports Centre.

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