Ottery boss: “Players need to switch off from FIFA 17 mode”

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary head for Sandford on Saturday, looking to bounce back from another disappointing home result, but are boosted by the return of the latest Player of the Month winner, full back Aiden Davey and right winger Callum Hutchings for the trip to Mid Devon.

Last Saturday, without the afore mentioned duo, the Otters went down 2-1 to a Priory side they had beaten in Exeter just seven days before!

Adam Harris fired the Otters into the lead, but Priory hit back to score twice in five minutes and take a 2-1 lead into the break.

In the second half the Otters huffed and certainly puffed, but they could not find a finish to match some decent approach play and so slipped to a third defeat in four home league games this Macron League Division Three season.

The defeat to Priory was a blow and manager Dave Fairweather knows where the problems lie.

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He says: “Hand on heart I do think a number of our younger players are in play station FIFA 17 mode! They do all these fancy things on their computers playing the game and seem to think it just falls into place on the pitch. One area they are particularly poor with is communication! It seems that if someone is offering advice and encouragement on the pitch it is often considered to be ‘dig’ at an individual when that really is not the case.”

As for the Priory defeat, Fairweather says: “We were the better team throughout the second period, but all too often the opportunity to cross the ball first time was lost - and in the final 10 minutes I counted eight occasions when we could have got a first-time cross in, but we dallied and took too many touches.”

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He continued: “We also made a couple of sloppy mistakes at the back that were punished for their two goals.

“We are certainly being hindered in terms of our desired progress by the current rotation of players. I think its just on two match days this season when I have been left with a decision to make in terms of having to leave a player out of matchday 14, and that’s the problem for us. We really need to reach a situation where we have more consistent availability throughout the squad. That’s a key issue, particularly in terms of our defending which is, of course, dependent on good understanding between the players in any defensive set-up.”

He added: “That said, our current situation is not just born out of defensive errors. It is a fact that we have scored in every game this season, but, for the goals we have scored, we have problem spurned twice as many chances and some we need to sharpen up at both ends of the pitch.”

In terms of the next match, Sandford is where the Otters suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in the last campaign - beaten 4-0 there back in January when they arrived to find the pitch more suited to bog snorkelling than football!

Fairweather says: “We owe them one and I am expecting the lads to deliver a good team performance.”

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