Mighty Mercan leads Sidmouth Raiders Under-15s to big win over Whipton

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Raiders Under-15s were 6-1 winners when they entertained Whipton Youth in their latest Exeter and District Youth League match.

Raiders boss Mark O’Connor opted to switch the powerful centre back to centre forward and this proved to be a tactical masterstroke with Mercan using his strength, determination and skill to terrorise the Whipton defence.

In what was almost the first attacking opportunity, Mercan powered his way through the Whipton defence before applying a clinical finish to make it 1-0.

It was some neat trickery out wide from Owen Baldwin that set up the goal that Joel Evans scored to double the lead.

Mercan used power, pace and no small measure of skill to make it 3-0 and then Baldwin turned home a superb right wing cross to make it 4-0. Baldwin, who looked dangerous whenever he had the ball, bagged his second to make it 5-0. Battling Whipton got a goal back just after the break, but Raiders, and particularly Mercan, were determined to have the final say and it was the youngster who beat the off-side trap before firing the ball home to complete his hat-trick. Raiders, could, perhaps should, have added further goals. Midfield dynamo Cory Rogers saw a shot cannon back off the frame of the goal and a stunning effort from Frank Long fizzed narrowly wide.

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A pleasing thing for the Raiders coaching staff was the fact that the reconstituted defence coped well with all that Whipton had to offer.

Left-back Jamie Salter was calm and reliable in possession and simply refused to give the ball away!

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The new centre-back pairing of Zac Lascelles and Ethan Gribble dealt well with everything that was thrown at them, with Gribble producing a superb sliding tackle to deny Whipton a late first-half goal.

Joe Norris had another strong performance slotting at full-back to add to Raiders’ defensive options.

Right-back Reuben Bennett was another to serve up a composed shift and right winger Joel Evans enjoyed one of his best games to date in a Raiders shirt. The game also marked the very welcome return for the much-missed Miles Lewis after a lengthy lay-off from injury, who slotted in seamlessly to midfield.

Sidmouth wing maestro Ryan Kubaczka was another to shine on a thoroughly impressive all-round Raiders show.

The Man of the Match award went to Owen Baldwin, who was superb on the right wing and also scored two of his team’s goals.

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