Sidmouth Town end season on cup high
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Town ended the 2017/18 season in style as they won the Morrison Bell Cup, defeating fellow South West Peninsula League Eastern Division side Budleigh Salterton in the final at the Washbrook Meadow home of Ottery St Mary.
With Town boss Josh Stunell having left the club after the semi-final success over Upottery it was left to Town Reserves’ management duo of Gary Bargery and Paddy Thomas to see the Vikings into their last action of the campaign.
Town started brightly and, with just two minutes on the clock, Ferenc Bodor rifled a shot that took a deflection off Budleigh player-manager Kevin Hill’s head before flying past Alan Doble in goal to see Town into the lead.
Two minutes later Town were awarded a free-kick and, when Tony Cox delivered a well-flighted ball into a crowded area, Jamie Newbury climbed above everyone else to plant his header into the back of the net and make it 2-0.
Things got even better for a large contingent of Town faithful in a good crowd at Washbrook Meadow when, from the re-start, Rob Knight seized upon some indecision in the Budleigh ranks to run on and drill the ball home and make it 3-0 – all within six minutes of kick-off!
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Town were now in full stride, but Budleigh, with the vastly experienced Hill at the heart of their back line, denied the Vikings any further goals. Indeed, the Robins began to claw their way back into the contest, which became one of end-to-end action.
That said, Town, to their immense credit, defended with great spirit and composure, limiting Budleigh to a few long shots that rarely troubled Robbie Powell between the sticks. The Town back four of Matt Colson, Matt Clenahan, Newbury and Tony Cox, stood firm and kept their discipline. Ahead of them, the two ‘holding midfielders’ Ty Wellman and Ben Clay, shielded the back four and broke up the play, frustrating the opposition while, in the forward areas, Bodor, Connor Swingler and the impressive Louis Spalding supported Rob Knight up front with counter-attacking looking the best source of adding further goals. Five minutes before the break Cox made a splendid goal-line clearance to deny Hill a chance to redeem himself for his earlier own goal.
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The second half saw Budleigh change their tactics to a long-ball approach, but this was dealt confidently with by the Town defensive unit. However, on the hour mark, Aaron Denny took a defence-splitting pass before firing past Powell to give Budleigh a ‘life-line’ in the contest. The Town defence then came under increasing pressure, but held firm until, with 15 minutes remaining, and shortly after a Hill header had come back off the Town bar, Jordan Harris scored to make it 3-2.
However, the expected ‘late siege’ on the Vikings’ goal did not come about, with much of that down to the introduction of fresh legs with young Ollie Jarrett and Matt Salter introduced to give Colson and Man of the Match Spalding a rest and Town saw their way through to the final whistle with a measure of comfort.
It was to great roars that Town skipper Jamie Newbury raised the cup high into the Ottery night sky.
A delighted joint manager Paddy Thomas said: “Myself and Gary [joint boss Gary Bargery] would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the players who responded superbly to what was asked of them and seemed to brush aside any disruptions to deliver a great all-round performance to ensure we ended the season in style.
“The lads worked hard to deny Budleigh time and space and were a credit to themselves and the football club. We must also record a big round of thanks to Dec Lines who came as cover for the already injured Robbie [Powell] and supported his teammates from start to finish.”