Otters shaping up for the season

Bishops Lydeard hosted Ottery in a friendly

Bishops Lydeard hosted Ottery in a friendly - Credit: Bishops Lydeard

Ottery St Mary continued their preparations for the new challenge of Peninsula League football with a 2-1 friendly victory at Kentisbeare on Wednesday evening.
Liam Carey and Marcus Fanson scored the Ottery goals, as manager Billy Rouse focused on minutes in legs for his squad and plenty of interest in some of the new faces at Washbrook Meadows. 
The win over Kentisbeare comes hard on the heels of a tough pre-season game at Western League outfit Bishops Lydeard last weekend, where the kick-off was delayed by 24 hours, which had a severe impact on player availability for Ottery. 
It was, however, an opportunity for Rouse to try out some different personnel and extremely encouraging to see four of the new Under-18 players (Jake Haggerty, Jack Drew-Cull, Haydon Simpson and Luke Paramore) given a chance to impress on a bigger stage. 
Unfortunately, slightly altered plans were thrown into complete turmoil when goalkeeper Jacob O’Callaghan tweaked his back in the warm up and Rouse was forced to swap the tactics board for goalie gloves. 
Despite the off-field problems, Ottery started the game very brightly and snatched an early lead when Luke Nickles cross for Drew-Cull, who showed great awareness to nod the ball into the path of Carey for an accomplished finish. 
Bishops Lydeard replied almost immediately and a goal that probably would have been blocked by a qualified custodian. An own goal and a strike from the edge of the box gave the home side a 3-1 advantage at the break. 
After an hour of stretching, O’Callaghan was able to return to goalkeeping duties in the second half and the Otters matched their hosts for long periods until tired legs allowed the higher-ranked side to add three late goals. 
It was still a great workout for Ottery, who can now look forward to the next pre-season game at home to St Martins next Wednesday. 
Elsewhere at the club, Ottery Reserves are celebrating after the latest reshuffle of the Devon and Exeter League has placed them in the Premier Division. The young Ottery development side will compete in Division Seven.  

Billy Rouse with the Morrison Bell Cup in the dressing room at Ottery St Mary after his sides 2019 f

Billy Rouse with the Morrison Bell Cup in the dressing room at Ottery St Mary after his sides 2019 final success against Sidmouth Town. Picture: BR - Credit: Archant

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