Sidmouth Raiders hard done by in cup exit at Cranbrook

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

Sidmouth Raiders Under-15s made the short trip to Cranbrook to begin their 2019 fixtures and also play their first competitive match since November.

At stake was a place in the next round of the Exeter and District Youth League Plate competition and, although Raiders lost 3-2, the management duo of Mark O’Connor and Merv Salter will be satisfied with the team’s all-round display and, in particular, the second-half performance.

Cranbrook were quickly into their stride and they struck two early goals with some clinical finishing.

Raiders were left perplexed when they thought they had got a goal back, but the superb lobbed effort from Ryan Kubaczka was disallowed after much prevarication from the officials!

However, as half-time approached, Sidmouth replied with a sweetly struck Frank Long effort and trooped off at the interval just a goal down.

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In the second half Raiders were forced into a reshuffle when they lost the services of tenacious defender Miles Lewis to injury and Cranbrook scored a third, albeit with a large slice of good fortune with the shot deflected into the Raiders’ net off one of their own players!

The third Cranbrook goal came at a time in the contest when Raiders were looking the better side and they refused to lie down. Indeed, they were quickly back onto the front foot with the pace and vision of Joel Evans a constant threat to the home side.

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Frank Long was full of energy and running while Yan Mercan led from the front, driving his team forward with some surging runs from one end of the pitch to the other.

Another to impress was newcomer Corey Rogers, who pressed from the front and showed tremendous desire and looks to be a great acquisition to the team.

Ryan Kubaczka got the goal his performance deserved with another long-range effort which deceived the Cranbrook keeper, only this time his effort was not disallowed!

As the game came to an end, Raiders were still on the front foot and they’d have taken the tie to extra-time had a tremendous long-range Josh O’Connor effort not struck the crossbar!

With this performance Sidmouth Raiders look to have built the foundations to start hauling their way up the league with much to look forward to in 2019.

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