In for the sting
This MATCH was much anticipated after the first encounter back in October which was an ill-tempered and combustible affair in which Sidmouth came off second best.
This MATCH was much anticipated after the first encounter back in October which was an ill-tempered and combustible affair in which Sidmouth came off second best. Absences meant the return of Andrew Jarrett to the side. Celebrating his selection, he unveiled a new haircut to the team that even had team mate and fellow hair stylist Bobby Brown impressed. With an unbeaten run of five games behind Sidmouth, confidence was high. The opening play, however, was all Hornets', providing an early test to the defensive abilities of Gannon and Jarrett who were reuniting an old partnership. Thankfully the telepathy between them was still intact as these early forays were skilfully handled. Sidmouth started to take control with Scott Rowson, giving his best performance of the season, controlling the midfield and picking out the Sidmouth forwards with pin point accuracy. A spell of concerted pressure and a healthy number of penalty corners eventually paid dividends as Gannon finally found his angles and smashed one under the falling Hornets' keeper for Sidmouth to take a deserved lead. Continuing to pressure the goalmouth Sidmouth's left wing Chris Lewis, the most consistent goal scorer of late, added a valuable and settling second goal before half time. Despite this cushion, Hornets always looked dangerous on the counter attack despite their defensive lapses and, within two minutes of the second half, a slack piece of Sidmouth defence let them wrestle a goal back. Now it was game on. At times this season Sidmouth's ability to defend a slender lead and even increase it has been their weakness but the confidence within the players has grown and it was a sublime piece of skill and finishing from Dan Devine that restored the Sidmouth's two-goal lead. The game really opened up as both sides played fluent attacking hockey. Once again it was Gannon with another expertly taken penalty corner that restored Sidmouth's three goal lead. With 10 minutes to go Hornets pulled another goal back and, almost immediately, Sidmouth's keeper Hill was called upon to make a significant save in the context of the whole match which seemed to take the "sting" out of Hornets' late resurgence. Sidmouth reacted in the best way possible as Brown scored Sidmouth's fifth. Hornet's bagged their third goal in the dying minutes of the game in what was an entertaining and hard fought win. Peter Baker has made a significant contribution to the team this season and we all wish him well. So Sidmouth move into the top five and face the league's promotional hopefuls Isca next week for another tough game.