Otters looking ahead to Bill Slee Cup final


- Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary suffered back-to-back 4-1 defeats in pre-season games over the past six days, but Otters’ boss Dave Fairweather is not going to lose any sleep over the reversals as he knows exactly what the problem is.

Fairweather says: “It’s really something as basic as concentration! It’s a problem we had at times last year and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with ability. We have a good squad of players and they are showing real signs of continued improvement and development, but no matter how long we spend working on routines and patterns of play, if we cannot comprehend the importance of concentration and awareness then we shall continue to be our own worst enemies.”

The Otters were first beaten in a Saturday meeting with Newton Abbot 66 that saw the South Devon side depart as the second winners of the Ottery Invitational Cup.

The first half of the contest was something of a one-sided affair with the Otters being the dominant force.

However, they managed to miss five or six gilt-edged chances over the 45 minutes and so sat in the Washbrook Meadow dressing rooms at half-time wondering just how they were trailing 2-1! After the break, the Otters never really got out of third gear and the visitors added two further late goals to take the honours, and lift the cup.”

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Fairweather said: “We carried something of a second-half hangover – both goals came from basic errors – into the Tuesday night game at home to a very good Lyme Regis 1st team, who took full advantage of our first-half sluggishness to lead 3-0 at the break.”

He continued: “We improved significantly in the second half and effectively ‘drew’ it 1-1, but the damage was done in the first half. On the plus side I was able to underline to the lads that they had just played a Premier Division side and, had they played in the first half as they played throughout the second period, then we might have actually got something out of the game. In a nutshell, that’s something we need to get right before the league action begins. Consistency of general performance combined with maintaining good levels of concentration – if we do that then we will be OK.”

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Ottery were back in action last night (Thursday) with a home game against Spreyton and they have a busy coming week with two training sessions, a Bill Slee Cup final against Kentisbeare at Budleigh Salterton next Thursday (August 23), with kick-off at Greenway Lane being 7pm, and then a first game of the new league campaign at home to Beer Albion on Saturday, August 25. In what looks a tough opening couple of weeks for the Otters, they then play the first of the season’s East Devon derby matches with a September 1 visit to Otterton.

Fairweather says: “In general terms I’d have to say that, despite the recent two defeats, pre-season is going well.

“It’s far better that we iron out any problems in our general play now during the pre-season and so hit the ground running next Saturday when we launch the new league term.”

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