Otters back in competitive action 

Ottery football club. Ref shsp 36 19TI 9315. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery football club. Ref shsp 36 19TI 9315. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary first-team kicked off the new Devon Football League tournament with a narrow 1-0 defeat to a very strong University of Exeter side. 
The Otters performed very well after such a lengthy lay-off from competitive football but credit to the students, who, like Ottery, enjoyed some brilliant form prior to the latest lockdown. 
Despite the defeat, there was a positive example of the pathway for footballers at Ottery, with youngsters Aidan Pearcy and Sam Pyne making the first-team step. 
In the build up to the midweek game, Ottery came from behind to beat Alphington 6-2 in an entertaining friendly last weekend. 
Liam Carey had given the Otters an early lead before the Alphas notched twice to take an advantage into half-time. 
After the break, however, Ottery were outstanding, starting with a Pete Grover penalty following a foul on Carey. 
A bizarre own goal made it 3-2 to the home side and Marcus Fanson added number four. Billy Rouse extended the lead from a free-kick and the final goal was scored by Grover after terrific work from Carey. 
The reserves were held to a 2-2 draw by Pinhoe last weekend, twice recovering from going behind to earn the point, and they very nearly snatched all three at the end.  
The Ottery development side were imperious in beating Bradninch 2nds 3-1 in the Devon and Exeter League. 
Charlie Cox scored the only goal in a dominant first-half display but the hosts came back to level after the break.  
Ottery did well to regroup and restored their lead with a penalty scored by Carl Wilson and then Dan Welch added gloss to the victory. 
In another indication that normal life might be finally returning to the football world, the bar at Washbrook Meadows opened for outside seating from Friday. 
There is a maximum 60 people allowed and the facilities will be open from midday to 7pm on Saturday, April 17. 
The club will be operating a track and trace system, table service and all other guidance required by the latest government rules.  

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