Nicholls’s last-minute winner sees Warriors U12s to third straight success

Sidmouth Warriors Under-12s at the start of the new season

Sidmouth Warriors Under-12s at the start of the new season - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Warriors Under-12s recorded a third successive victory thanks to a last-minute goal from Thomas Nicholls that helped them defeat Exeter Panthers by the odd goal in five.

With both teams having made similar successful starts to the new campaign, a close encounter was anticipated - and it proved to be just that!

The early exchanges were end-to-end with both teams carrying a threat. Warriors are playing with genuine confidence at the moment and, despite periods of sustained pressure from Panthers, the Sidmouth goal wasn’t threatened. Much of that was down to some wonderful defending from Tom Cload. As the half wore on, Dev Nair created some space for himself in a crowded area, but his powerful shot was well saved by the Panthers’ glovesman. Just before the half-time whistle, Panthers scored with a slick counter-attack and took that single goal lead into the break.

Warriors were quickly into their stride after the restart with the seemingly energised Finn Upsher serving up a Man of the Match performance which began to cause problems for the Panthers’ defence and it was Upsher who restored parity with a fine strike.

Exeter, to their credit, came back again and after a slight confusion in defence the visitors found themselves in space to retake the lead. The game was being played at a frenetic pace and this allowed the fit Sidmouth team to start to gain a foothold.

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A sublime through-ball from Charles Joy fed Upsher again and he slotted it low into the bottom corner past the keeper.

With the clock ticking down and a draw seeming the likely outcome, a strong run from Michal Bielawski ended with the ball at the feet of Thomas Nicholls on the edge of the Panthers’ penalty area and, spotting the goalkeeper out of position, he fired a perfectly weighted volley into the top corner of the net.

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The referee blew for full-time moments later, giving the Sidmouth team an excellent third win on the bounce.

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