Ogley stars as Vikings Reserves go third
Sidmouth Town Reserves were 2-0 winners at Halwill and the victory lifts the Vikings second string into a Division Two top three slot for the first time this term.
What’s more the clean sheet the team bagged on the long trip to North Devon was also the first of the campaign for Simon Hudson’s men.
The opening exchanges were tentative as both teams struggled with the sodden pitch, but it was the home side who had the first chance with their striker unable to connect cleanly from a free-kick.
Sidmouth’s front three of Will Jenkins, Rikki Pitter and Arnie Onaki got themselves into the game and fashioned chances for each other; Pitter particularly unfortunate not to open the scoring with a spectacular volley
on the turn that the home gloves man did well to tip over the bar.
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After the first goalless half of the season for the Vikings, they began the second period with a little extra tempo and began to exert a bit of authority on proceedings.
Mark Burdus and Damien Armes seized control of the middle third and chances began to arrive. At the other end of the pitch the home side carried a threat only on the counter, and on one such raid Sidmouth goalkeeper Dec Line produced a smart save.
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The deadlock was finally broken 20 minutes from time when leading scorer Pitter put the visitors ahead with a crisp turn and powerful shot from just inside the area.
The goal seemed to relax the visitors who began to play a neat brand of passing football, defending deep and hitting the home side with swift counter-attacks.
Charlie Nicolle and Richard Johnson, drafted in after the club’s third team game was called off owing to the weather, both joined the action and it was Johnson, showing his predatory instincts, who struck the second, and points sealing, goal Matt Ogley had pressurised the home defence into a mistake.
The Vikings’ centre back pairing of Andrew Lord and Ben Squance coped comfortably with everything Halwill had to offer whilst full backs, Darren Thomas and Nick Gingell, defended well when called upon to do so and distributed the ball intelligently.
Behind them Lines showed safe hands throughout. The Town Man of the Match award went to Matt Ogley who spent much of the 90 minutes gilding imperiously over the sticky surface harassing the opposition whilst also creating chances whilst other players around him struggle with the underfoot conditions.
Put through with just the keeper to beat Ogley chose the narrow side of the goal and squeezed the ball wide with what proved to be the last kick of the game, denying the youngster a richly deserved first senior goal, something his overall performance certainly merited.
Team boss Hudson said: “This was a great all-round performance and I get the feeling that as this team matures there’s even better to come from them.”
This Saturday the Reserves have a rare home game when they host Culm United at Manstone Lane (2.15pm).