Sidmouth Raiders Under-14s are just champion!
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Sidmouth Raiders have been crowned Exeter and District Youth League champions after a 4-2 win away at Westexe Youth.
The pressure could not have been greater – or the stakes higher – as Raiders travelled to the game knowing that they had to win to be promoted and also be victorious by a margin of two goals to go up as champions!
In glorious weather – blue skies and bags of sunshine – Raiders began the game well with Joel Edwards looking lively on the right wing.
There were soon chances being fashioned, but, despite plenty of the ball, and lots of territorial advantage, a goal proved elusive until a moment of opportunism from Reuben Bennett, who found the back of the net with a lofted drive that deceived defenders and goalkeeper alike.
Westexe hit back to first level and then score again to take a 2-1 lead into the break. In the second half the play was congested to much of the middle third of the pitch as two well-matched sides looked to break down the others impressive defence.
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When Raiders were awarded a free-kick by the dugout, just beyond the halfway line, Yan Mercan stepped up to fire an absolute ‘rocket’ of a shot that arrowed its way into the top of the home net – a goal worthy of winning many a game on much higher stages!
Clearly lifted by the goal, Raiders found a new gear and, with the pressure mounting on the home defence, the talented Freddie Dorman weaved his way into the area before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.
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The goal gave Raiders the lead and with it they were on their way to promotion. However, a great award was to win by two clear goals and they were soon on the offensive once more. Time was against them though, and, with the clock ticking down, a darting run by Dorman ended with him being felled right on the edge of the area, but, after consulting with the linesman, the match official pointed to the penalty spot and Frank Long saw his spot kick initially saved, but it came back to him to make no mistake and put Raiders into that coveted two goal lead!
The goal led to great celebrations from the large group of supporters at the game and they continued to cheer and lift the players through to the final whistle, which was greeted with even greater scenes of joy as Raiders had sealed promotion – and the divisional championship. Everyone involved with the squad, from team manager Mark O’Connor and his assistant Merv Sawyer, to every player that has turned out and the travelling supporters, deserves so much credit at the end of a wonderful and now successful campaign.
Sidmouth Raiders Under-14s: Owen Baldwin, Jamie Salter, Yan Mercan, Zac Lascelles, Miles Lewis, Joe Norris, Reuben Bennett, Josh OConnor, Frank Long, Joel Evans, Ethan Gribble, Freddie Dorman and Ryan Kubaczka