Honiton and Sidmouth share a Christmas cracker
- Credit: Honiton Town FC
There is nothing better at Christmas than some Boxing Day football, especially when the local schedule has been decimated by Covid and weather issues.
Honiton Town and Sidmouth Town managed to dodge the maze of challenges to produce a fabulous game of Peninsula League football in front of an impressive 216 supporters at Mountbatten Park.
Both sides have found things tough over the first half of the season, with the Vikings of Sidmouth recording just one victory so far and Honiton a place above them in the league, although the Hippos are just a couple of victories away from moving into mid-table.
Despite that pre-match context and bellies full of turkey, the players from both sides were an absolute credit to their clubs, serving up 90 minutes of terrific entertainment.
Honiton were the first to find some attacking fluency, Harry Leisk striking the Sidmouth crossbar after some fabulous approach work from Billy Reed on four minutes. The reprieve for Sidmouth was very brief, as man of the match Leisk latched on to another fine pass and steered a confident finish past the visiting ‘keeper.
Given their struggles this term, it would have been easy for Sidmouth to start feeling sorry for themselves.
The opposite happened, as the outstanding Will Jenkins found room on the edge of the Honiton penalty area and rifled a super strike beyond the despairing dive of Luke Ashford in the home goal.
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The scores remained level at the interval and there was no respite in terms of energy and endeavour in the second period, but there was no further breakthrough until 15 minutes from time.
Danny Bailey has been banging in the goals all season and he obliged again with what looked like the winner for Honiton, but Sidmouth responded with the kind of spirit that suggests a happier 2022 for the Vikings.
Their reward came in stoppage time, when Jenkins again popped up to earn his side a point. The conditions were far from perfect, but the players, officials, volunteers and supporters all came together for a brilliant example of Boxing Day football. Well played.