Sidmouth Thirds storm back from three down to net point

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Football generic picture - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth third team were good value for a 3-3 draw at Moretonhampstead thirds in a Fresha League meeting.

The Vikings made their longest away journey of the season full of confidence having been beaten just once on their previous nine outings, six of which they won. However, they did travel without a number of regulars and had had to borrow a couple of players after the clubs other games had been called off.

Skipper Dab Corrick won the toss and the Sidmouth management sat back and waited to be impressed. After such well thought out team selection and such perfect preparation what could possibly go wrong?

Well, plenty as it happens, and most of it before the travelling supporters had even been able to take their seats!

Sidmouth elected to play into the strong and gusty wind and the hosts took ful advantage netting twice in the first two minutes!

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That was then followed by a remarkable episode that is not likely, I suspect, to have often been witnessed at the likes of Old Trafford! The ball clearly went out of play on the nearside touch line. The Moretonhampstead linesman did not spot it as he was more focussed on lighting his cigarette in the blustery wind!

Twenty players on both sides stopped playing and readied themselves for the Sidmouth throw. However, the home player hoofed the ball into the penalty area where Jean-Paul Stanforth considerately (and in the interests of not allowing the ball to get blown further away by the wind), chested it neatly into the back of the Sidmouth net, only to see the referee award a goal that left a shocked Sidmouth three down after just 20 minutes!

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The Vikings rallied superbly and, playing into a bitterly cold and inspired by the dogged determination of Jimmy Pearse, they battled back into the game.

Pearse, playing out of position on the right wing, worked and harried and displayed a great range of flicks and passes which started to see Sidmouth create a series of chances of their own. With half-time approaching Pearse, under pressure from a home defender, controlled the ball perfectly and swivelled to volley the ball in for his maiden senior football, goal and the Vikings trooped off at the break very much back in the contest!

Indeed, if the otherwise excellent Mark Pavey had not contrived to hit the post when the whole open goal beckoned, Sidmouth might have gone in just one goal in arrears.

The second half was a different game altogether. The Sidmouth Management will maintain that that was the result of some inspired substitutions and their tactical insight. But it is just possible that having the wind behind had something to do with it too!

Either way Sidmouth chances started to come thick and fast. With the pass of the game, Joe Gosse released Pavey who scored with an excellent flick past the keeper.

Blake Blackwood then atoned for the comedy moment of the afternoon (when in a moment of disappointment he flicked the goalkeeper’s cap off - think Charlie Chaplin!) by reacting first during a goal mouth scramble to add an equaliser which further increases his impressive total of goals for the season.

Despite constant pressure thereafter (and a controversially disallowed goal for offside) Sidmouth were not able to find the winner that their second half display deserved. However, returning home with a point having been three behind after a quarter of thje contest, is not to be scoffed at.

Well done to man of the match Jimmy Pearse whose goal capped a fine overall performance.

Thanks are also due to Pavey, Cox, Griffiths, Jenkins, Lister and Still who were kind enough to make the long journey to Moretonhampstead. In so doing they showed the sort of one-club mentality that is so important and which can so easily be forgotten.

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