Sidmouth Reserves' vital victory

OTTERTON went into their derby meeting with Sidmouth Town knowing it was a game they could ill afford to lose.

OTTERTON went into their derby meeting with Sidmouth Town knowing it was a game they could ill afford to lose, given the way some of the sides below them in the top flight have been picking up points, writes Andy Mitchell.As a contest, this encounter was something of a non-event, with both sides seemingly unable to prise open the others defence in windy conditions. The best Otters' chance of the early exchanges fell to Tim Wright, but he blazed over when well set.Five minutes before the break, Otterton took a precious lead when Simon Tuley's first touch was good enough to set him up to fire past the Vikings keeper.After the break the Otters looked very much in charge of affairs. Tom Bishop was a dominant leader of the front line and Kevin Pitt carried a continual threat out wide.At the other end, the combination of Matt Tett, Doug Dale, Lee Mitchell and Charlie Page reduced the visitors to rare sights at goal.The game changed in the final 15 minutes as the Vikings suddenly stepped up a gear. Otter's keeper, Adam Williams, pulled off a stunning save but, moments later, he was left helpless when beaten by Chris Duchenski for the Vikings to take a point.The loss of the late points may yet prove pivotal to the Otters' chances of extending their stay at the top level. Their next trio of outings are against each of the current three leading clubs, starting with a trip to leaders St Martin's on Saturday.Sidmouth Town are home to third from bottom Hatherleigh, who shocked Exmouth Amateurs 3-1 at Warren View. l Sidmouth Reserves had to beat Newtown to give themselves any chance of avoiding relegation and that is exactly what they did, writes Alan Rowe.Boosted by the club's new changing facilities, the Vikings took the lead after Craig Badcock won one of many headers and Jack Lewis found Chris Warfield free in the box, who then steered his shot into the corner of the net with the outside of his right foot.The game was a scrappy affair, not helped by the wind blowing directly across the pitch. Newtown pressed for an equaliser but the defence held out until half-time being well drilled by Neil Blake, ably assisted by Toby Gigg and Sam Hammett. Ten minutes into the second half, Newtown equalised when a badly struck corner was sliced by the defender at the near post and ricocheted off another defender.The visitors had their tails up, forcing a series of corners, which were brilliantly dealt with by keeper Hugh Cort. Slowly, Sidmouth played their way back into the game and went back into the lead after 70 minutes, when Jack Lewis took advantage of a collision between the opposition goal keeper and centre half, to tap the ball into an empty net. The last 20 minutes were nail-biting.Rowe said " The effort has been great over the last month and hopefully we can get another two or three wins to avoid the drop to Senior 3.

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