Ottery St Mary head to Exeter seeking 13th successive league win

Ottery away at East Budleigh. Ref shsp 02 19TI 7853. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery away at East Budleigh. Ref shsp 02 19TI 7853. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary head into Exeter tomorrow to meet Winchester seeking to chalk up a 13th successive victory.

The Otters, like most of the clubs playing in the Macron Devon and Exeter League, had the first Saturday of February off owing to the snow that struck the area at the end of the week – just six matches across the nine divisions of the league were played.

Ottery should have entertained Lympstone, but the Washbrook Meadow pitch failed a morning pitch inspection despite the very best efforts of the Ottery ground staff to get the surface fit for a game.

The trip to Winchester will see the Otters meet a side they defeated in a cup tie last season. That is a contest that Ottery boss Dave Fairweather remembers well.

He says: “They [Winchester] were an uncompromising outfit that played well to their strengths. I do think that this year they will find us a different side to the one they took on in that cup tie.

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“This season we have, in football terms, ‘grown up significantly’ in as much as we are better prepared for the sort of contest we sometimes face when a team is looking to be physical and perhaps attempt to ‘bully’ us.”

He continued: “It’s one of the most pleasing developments for me, this ‘we shall not be pushed around’ mentality which, along with our high intensity pressing game, is paying dividends this season and has been a key factor in the current winning run.”

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So, does the Ottery boss feel that, as the wins keep coming, the pressure is being cranked up a notch game by game? He replies saying: “I would not call it pressure as it is all very much part of the game.

“As I keep saying, for me, a game of football is all about what we do as a team and how we approach it.

“There have been times – and there will be times – when the opposition might ‘bring in’ players from a higher level and, whilst it would be easy to whinge about ‘unlevel playing fields’, I prefer to take it as a show of respect to my team and turn that into a challenge to the players to show just how good they are and indeed can be!”

He rounded things off saying: “I am confident that if we stick to our disciplines and play the way we want to play, then we will get the result we desire.”

The Otters are at full strength for the game against Winchester, a contest that, as long as the weather does not intervene, will take place at Cowick Barton in Exeter with a 3pm kick-off.

There’s action at Ottery on Sunday with the ladies’ team entertaining Signal Box Oak Villa in a Westward Developments Devon League fixture.

The Plymouth-based side sit second in the table, three places better off than the Otterettes, who have played three games fewer.

Signal Box Oak Villa last won in early January when they bagged a 6-1 success at Seaton since when they have drawn at University (3-3) and Axminster Town (2-2) and, in their most recent outing, they were beaten 2-0 at home by Axminster Town.

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