Lacked finesse but Sids maitain run
After a week's enforced break due to the weather, Sidmouth were back in action against second placed promotion hopefuls East Devon.
After a week's enforced break due to the weather, Sidmouth were back in action against second placed promotion hopefuls East Devon.The contest between these two sides is always a pretty turgid affair with the physicality and resilience of East Devon countering any creativity and free flowing hockey Sidmouth attempt to play. With a current run of 11 unbeaten matches behind Sidmouth, going back to the beginning of October, there is now a more steely determination about the whole team to carve out a win. A slight reshuffle in the midfield line-up, to accommodate the recalled Jarrett in the back four, was the only positional change captain Welch had to make in what is now a relatively settled side. The match started with East Devon only having 10 players as traffic had delayed one, but Sidmouth, looking like they had had a month off, rather than a week, couldn't capitalise on this advantage. The skilful high tempo game that Sidmouth had shown these last few months seemed to have deserted them with unforced errors particularly in the basics department. East Devon pressed and seemed more likely to gain an early goal but the back four defended resolutely, with Jarrett receiving a nasty blow to his nose that could have ruined his Valentine plans for the night. Sidmouth were creating chances once they broke down the flanks and good running from Lewis and Fitzgerald forced a number of penalty corners. Eventually it was ace marksman Gannon who drilled one of the penalty corners home, leaving their keeper no chance. The rest of the half was played out in a rather messy and unstructured manner and East Devon equalised near to the end. Sidmouth did have a couple of gilt edged chances to extend their lead but they weren't taken. At half time Welch rejigged the Sidmouth structure to control the central midfield area and allow more freedom on the flanks. But this took a good 10 minutes to settle as East Devon came out with real intent to finish the game off. Eventually both Pidgeon and Devine started to impose their games down the left flank with Devine in particular making a number of strong runs which allowed Welch to express himself more with his attacking game. It was this combination which finally broke the deadlock as a deliberate foul by one of the East Devon defenders stopped an almost certain goal. The penalty stroke was executed with great authority by Welch for Sidmouth to retake the lead. East Devon pressed and Sidmouth held firm with Hill making a couple of excellent reflex saves to snuff out any chance of a comeback. In the end the game finished as it had started with what can only be described as a gritty performance from Sidmouth who just about did enough to deserve the three points but no one came off the pitch feeling any great sense of satisfaction.