Mansfield at the double as SOHC men win at Barum to stay top

Sidmouth and Ottery A at home to Okehampton. Ref shsp 08-17TI 7448. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth and Ottery A at home to Okehampton. Ref shsp 08-17TI 7448. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club (SOHC) men’s first team faced a Southern One classic top-versus-bottom fixture when they journeyed up the North Devon Link Road to face Barnstaple.

The table-toppers were hamstrung for the encounter as they travelled missing a number of key defenders.

However, befitting of the season they are having, they made a confident start and bossed much of the early possession.

Eventually, the early pressure told and they opened the scoring when a powerful run from Jonathan Hext ended with him getting his shot away that came back off the goalkeeper’s midriff and an alert Nick Mansfield pounced to rifle the ball home.

That proved to be the only goal of the first half and SOHC made a positive start to the second half.

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They pressed high up the pitch, but a second goal would not come. Then came a period of some questionable umpiring decisions that created frustration which, in turn, led to a yellow card for Jack Ellison.

During the Ellison absence, the team closed ranks, keeping possession well and, when Ellison returned to the action, the 1-0 lead was still in place.

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North Devon then scored an equaliser, but that simply served to spark a fine response from SOHC and it was no surprise when they regained the lead when a terrific through-ball from Henry Mutter released Jack Ellison, who got to the baseline before cutting the ball back to Mansfield to net his second of the game. The SOHC pressure continued and, as the home side toiled, Jack Ellison slapped the ball home at the far post to confirm another away success for the table-toppers.

The Man of the Match award went to Nick Mansfield, who served up a shift of relentless running and who scored twice in a contest for the first time in three years.

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