Otters’ winning run ended at a foggy Beer

Ottery away at Beer. Ref shsp 08 19TI 0332. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery away at Beer. Ref shsp 08 19TI 0332. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary will seek to make a swift return to winning ways tomorrow (Saturday) when they make the short trip to Budleigh Salterton Reserves for their next Macron League Division Three fixture.

Ottery away at Beer. Ref shsp 08 19TI 0325. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery away at Beer. Ref shsp 08 19TI 0325. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Otters were unable to stretch their winning run to 13 games last Saturday as they were beaten 3-2 by Beer Albion Reserves at what was a foggy Furzebrake.

In a classic ‘performance of two different halves’ the Otters trailed 3-1 at the interval and then ‘won’ the second half 1-0, but, at the end of the day, Ottery boss Dave Fairweather was not making any excuses about his team’s defeat.

He said: “Fair play to them [Beer]. They do have a very direct style of play and it works for them.

“Where we went wrong in the first half is that we allowed ourselves to be drawn into playing in similar fashion to the home side and that is alien to the way we have been playing in as much as we prefer to play out from the back.”

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He continued: “We have told the players so many times that if they get drawn into a long-ball game then they will not be able to press high up the pitch, which is fundamental to the way we want to be playing our game.

“All we did at the break was remind the players of how they have been playing prior to the first half at Beer and the second half really was so much better. Indeed, on another day, we would have scored more than the one goal we got after the break and without doubt, I feel, gone on to win the game.”

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Fairweather also refused to use the ‘fog’ as a factor. He said: “It was, at times, farcial, given that the referee admitted he could not see the full pitch, and when the penalty was given against us in the first half it was awarded on the basis of the ‘slide marks’ on the pitch! But both teams agreed to get on with it and, although in hindsight we would have been better off not playing (if only because our winning run would still be in tact), the bottom line is that we did play and we only have ourselves to blame for that wonderful run coming to and end.”

So, what about this game at Budleigh Salterton? Fairweather says: “It’s a fact that we meet, for the second successive Saturday, a club’s second team on a day when their first team does not have a game.

“However, there’s nowt we can do about what sort of side we face at Greenway Lane, but what we can dictate is how we want to play and I am very confident that we will play from minute one in the style we are best served playing. It’s always a big test after a long winning run to see if your team can respond and I will be very surprised if we don’t show a terrific response tomorrow at Greenway Lane.”

Despite the defeat at Beer, the Otters remain top of the Division Three table and, with nine games left in their league campaign, are well placed to complete their ‘mission’ this season, which is a top three finish to be able to play in the third tier of Macron Devon and Exeter League football next season.

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