New season of hope for Vikings and Otters
- Credit: Sidmouth Town AFC
There is excitement across the football community at the dawn of a new season and the sense of anticipation at Sidmouth Town is palpable.
After struggling through the early months of last season, the arrival of manager Billy Rouse at Christmas sparked a superb revival and the Vikings will be a team to watch when the South-West Peninsula League adventure begins on Saturday.
However, in a quirk of the fixture schedule, Sidmouth will have to sit back and watch their rivals for a week before they get things going with a visit from Plymouth Marjon on August 13. The Vikings travel to Torridgeside on August 20 and then a midweek home meeting with Teignmouth three days later.
Sidmouth laid down a significant marker in their final pre-season against Peninsula rivals Cullompton Rangers in midweek.
After making the short trip to Cully, a delicious pass from Danny Pym gave Marcus Fanson the simple task of opening the scoring inside two minutes. The left-foot of Kieren Daniels doubled the lead on ten minutes, as he curled a superb free-kick around the wall and inside the near post.
Luka Nickles emerged from the bench as an early substitute to rifle a third in off the post and Cullompton’s evening got even worse when their goalkeeper was dismissed on the stroke of half-time.
Will Jenkins headed in number four soon after the restart and the Vikings finished with a flourish, as Matt Salter threaded a pass for Liam Carey to round the replacement ‘keeper and score four minutes from time. Jenkins then sealed a happy day with a late header.
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While Sidmouth shone in the second half of last season, Ottery began an almighty rebuild and will now take on a fresh challenge in the Devon Football League.
The Otters warmed up with an impressive 4-1 win over a talented Torquay United youth-team on Tuesday. Nathan Hopkins, an own goal, Seb Copp and Zak Tilley were the scorers. The Ottery campaign opens with a trip to Beer Albion on August 16, then away to Braunton on August 20 before the first home game against Topsham on August 26.