Otters share the spoils in floodlit ‘thriller’ against Okehampton Argyle

Ottery at home to Buckland Athletic. Ref shsp 06 20TI 7550. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery at home to Buckland Athletic. Ref shsp 06 20TI 7550. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A late goal from Jordan Burrows saw Ottery St Mary to a 1-1 draw with Okehampton Argyle in a compelling contest played out by two sides who are sure to be ‘there-or-thereabouts’ when the league honours are decided at the end of the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League campaign.

The game, played out under the Washbrook Meadow floodlights, saw the Otters start well and they ought to have taken an early lead, but Pete Grover ‘scuffed’ his effort when clean through on goal.

Danny Pym was then thwarted by the impressive Aaron Dearing, with the Okehampton glovesman turning the Ottery mans well struck free-kick round the post.

Pym went close once again when he was sent clear by Ryan Burrows and his excellent first time effort beat the goalkeeper, but was kept out of the net by the frame of the goal.

The visitors were giving as good as they got and they too saw an effort cannon back off the bar when former Willand Rovers man Luke Mortimer struck a close-range volley.

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There was similar action from the restart and the deadlock was eventually broken with Okehampton edging ahead thanks to a superb strike by Luke Reynolds.

That led the visitors into a period of pressure when they could - perhaps should - have doubled their lead, but Ottery goalkeeper Jacob O’Callaghan pulled off a terrific save to deny Bradley Ausden.

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Ottery were soon back on the front foot themselves and Pym was again denied by Dearing who once more covered himself in glory with a stunning save from another ‘goal-bound’ Pym set piece.

A big Washbrook Meadow crowd thought their side had levelled , but Jordan Burrows was adjudged to have fouled Dearing in the build-up.

The home side continued to press and Charlie Cox thought he had equalised when he rose highest in a crowded area from another fine corner delivery, but his ‘goal bound’ effort was headed off the line by an Okehampton defender.

Mortimore then had the chance to finish the game after a defensive mix-up, but he was denied by O’Callaghan.

With the clock ticking towards the closing stages the Otters were awarded a free-kick and dead ball specialist Pym once again delivered a superb ball into the area and, amongst a sea of bodies, Jordan Burrows reacted first to toe poke the ball home and leave honours ending even.

Speaking after the game, Ottery boss Billy Rouse said: “I’m happy with a point, it’s a massive game so early on in the season.

“We didn’t produce our flowing football but credit to Oke as they worked tirelessly to disrupt us.

“That said, we showed great character to dig in and keep going to the final whistle.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s away game at a Beer Alston side yet top bank a point after back-to-back defeats, the Ottery boss says: “We dust ourselves off and go again Saturday as we make the long trip to Bere Alston.

“Liam Carey and Luka Nickles both miss out again as they are on holiday while Ashley Small, Connor Hannaford and Danny Pym look certain to miss out after picking up injuries in the Okehampton game.

“I fancy that all means I shall have to call on some of the lads from the reserves and get the boots on myself, but I still fancy our chances of coming away with three points if we apply ourselves on Saturday in the way I know we can.”

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