Ottery Under-14s denied by last-gasp Alphington goal

The Ottery St Mary Under-14s team who play in Division One of the Exeter & District Youth League. Pi

The Ottery St Mary Under-14s team who play in Division One of the Exeter & District Youth League. Picture: STEPHEN UPSHER - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary Under-14s head the fledgling Exeter and District Youth League Division One table, albeit on goal difference, after a 1-1 draw in what proved to be a compelling encounter with Alphington.

Alphington were the better side throughout the first half and they went close on a number of occasions. Indeed they'd have taken a 12th minute lead but for the depth of the crossbar!

Will Reid came in at the back for the injured Tom Bennett, with Ollie Milton and Finn Upsher lining up at front. Ottery's passing wasn't at its best in the first 45 minutes, but thanks to solid defending, the home side kept themselves in the game.

Ottery's best chance fell to Finn Upsher, who in the 30th minute had the ball in the back of the net only for the referee to blow for handball.

On the stroke of half-time Jake Johnson broke into the box only for the Alphington keeper to deny him with a superb double save, the second a brave stop at the feet of the Ottery midfielder.

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It was a half-time team talk from head coach Addy Carpenter that changed the home approach and they looked a very different proposition from the re-start!

However, try as they did, they found it hard to hit the back of the net. Jack Carpenter, Seb Copp and Jake Blackmore were engineering things in midfield and Upsher went close three times in the opening six minutes.

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Rowan Hewitt was proving a rock in defence alongside skipper Fin Lashbrook and Man of the Match Sam Gleeson,who was showing a quiet maturity in front of keeper Jack Hembrow.

With five minutes left on the clock, Ottery thought they had won it when Upsher threaded a pass through to Johnson who cut into the box and fired a shot past the despairing Alphington glovesman.

Carpenter sent on George Durham for Upsher and the tenacious winger almost doubled Ottery's lead a minute later.

However, the Alphas drew level with two minutes remaining, their frontman taking advantage of a lapse in concentration in the Ottery defence to fire in a curling shot beyond Ottery goalkeeper Jack Hembrow.

There was still time for Johnson to almost snatch all three points in the dying seconds with a similar move to his goal, but this time the Alphington keeper was a match for the Ottery midfielder and made a superb save with his legs.

Post match Ottery coach Carpenter bemoaned a slow start and poor passing, but was quick to praise the way his side responded in the second 45.

Ottery kick off their defence of the Exeter and District League Cup on Saturday (September 28) with a home game against local rivals Honiton.

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