Sidmouth Town are all lit up and net first league win of season
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Sidmouth Town, playing under the new Manstone Lane floodlights for the very first time, bagged their first win of the South West Peninsula League season with a 3-1 success over University.
A Jordan Bastin goal in the sixth minute gave Town the perfect start and, even though the students levelled 10 minutes later, Town, who began the day sitting bottom of the table, gave as good as they got through to half-time.
Midway through the second half, Rob Knight restored the home lead and, with five minutes to go, Bastin netted his second to ensure the home side celebrated the advent of their new lights with a terrific win - one that lifted them off the bottom of the table!
A delighted Town boss Josh Stunell said: “We needed that! We made a point of reminding the lads before the start that it was a very special night for all concerned with the club and, if we did not put on the sort of display that was required, the night could end up being something of a damp squib!”
He continued: “To date, this season so far, we have been close to producing our best, but it all came together on the night and we fully deserved to win the game.
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“Danny [Clay] was immense at the heart of everything - he talked the lads through various stages of the contest and the younger players really did respond well to his prompting.
“There was no need for a motivational team talk pre-match. You could sense in the dressing room that the players were fully aware of just how important the night was for everyone at the club. That helped make it a great atmosphere in – and out – of the dressing room.
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“We did tweak our style to a degree. Generally I like us to set the tone and almost go for the jugular early, but, in this contest, we were more circumspect and the logic behind our game plan was to be very much ‘in the game’ still at the half-time stage – and that is exactly how it worked.”
“Everyone put a shift in. The difference in this match was the game management by one and all – it was top drawer and, when you get the game management right, you generally get a positive result! I am so pleased for all the hard-working folk at the club that we were able to make it such a great night.”
The Town boss was also quick to remind his players post match of the need to savour the moment.
He said: “We told the lads that special nights like this don’t come round all the time and so, when they do, you must milk them for all they are worth.”
Stunell also had words of praise for the Manstone Lane surface. He said: “We had a fair bit of rain, but the surface held up; superbly and I have to say the lights really are special. I have seen plenty of sets of lights in my time in football, but the ones at Manstone Lane are right up there – very impressive!”
On Saturday, Town travel to Ilfracombe and Stunell says: “We did well up there last season and I am hoping that we can do similar this year.
“It is important that we take confidence from this win. There are no ‘easy games’ at this level, but we now head into a run of fixtures that present us with a very real opportunity to bank some serious points and begin to climb the table.