Sidmouth Town latest - What a night! Vikings lift the Twitter Cup

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 7999. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 7999. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town will end the 2019/20 season with some silverware after they lifted the inaugural South West Premier League Twitter Cup, ‘defeating’ Newton Abbot Spurs 3-2 in the final.

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 7999. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 7999. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The competition was thought up by that top football administrator that is Phil Hiscox who looks after all things South West Peninsula League and he entered all the teams in the competition and paired teams off with the ‘winner;’ being the side that drew the most votes via twitter and it all led to the starting number of teams being whittled down to just two for the final.

Here, courtesy of a Town follower is his take on the final action....

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 7999. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 7999. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

In what was an epic encounter between high flying Newton Abbott Spurs and bottom of the league Sidmouth Town, an unbelievable conclusion saw Sidmouth captain Ash Matthews lift the cup, writes Richard Hatswell.

Tensions were high from the off as both sets of supporters were treated to a feast of football. The Sidmouth faithful, led by the Sidmouth ICF (Gary B, Thorney, Chas Nich and Chippy) led the chants and created a wonderful atmosphere among the 1,885 fans. However, a young Ken Morts, was unfortunately escorted from the ground early on for lighting flares. Even the celebrities had turnout to see such a spectacle, The Wealdstone Raider, Wayne Mardle and representatives from the Monster Raving Looney Party were in attendance, along with a contestant from Love Island. This certainly was the place to be.

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Team coaches Danny Burwoood and Paul Pocock had almost a full squad to choose from with the only absentees being an injured Matt Coulson and long-term casualty Chris Ducheski. Brendon Willey was promoted to linesman on this auspicious occasion.

Newton Abbott started the brighter and looked hungrier in the tackle and if it wasn’t for some fine early saves from Milford and last ditch defending by Pocock and Salter, Spurs would have taken an early lead. Feeding off scraps, Hammett and Burwood worked tirelessly but made little headway against a strong and well-drilled defensive unit.

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This early pressure finally paid of when a speculative drive from the Newton Abbot striker deflected off an unfortunate Tom Diamond into the far corner past a stationary Milford. It was no more than Spurs deserved.

However, the goal sparked Sidmouth into life and they began to get a foothold in the game.

With Lewis and Hatswell starting to pull the strings and seeing more of the ball and Ferenc Bodor was now making his trademark lightening sprints down the left flank and, on one or two occasions, even took the ball with him!

Wilkinson was coming more and more into the game and the partnership with Lewis was starting to create openings.

As half-time approached the crowd could sense an equaliser and the Sidmouth ‘Barmy Army’ were sent into raptures as Lewis delivered a fine through ball for Salter who calmly slotted home past the keeper.

During the interval the heavens opened and as a result Ken Morts was allowed back into the ground to fork the pitch on the proviso that he behaved himself.

Burwood and Pocock had some harsh words for the Vikings and demanded more, but tea and biscuits were all that were on offer as the Sidmouth Vets manager, Jimmy Case, had eaten all of the cakes.

Much like the first half Spurs started the stronger and Sidmouth seemed to be labouring and heavy legged having had the extra responsibility and physical demands of propping up the league for most of the season.

Fresh legs were needed and Pocock acted swiftly bringing on both Jarrett and Miller.

This masterstroke turned the tide and Sidmouth were in the ascendency, wave after wave of attacks were repelled by a resolute Spurs defence, the ‘fresh faced’, ‘fresh men’ had certainly made a difference.

Then, out of the blue on 69 minutes straight from a Viking corner Newton broke and left the hopelessly outnumbered Ben Clay, who had just come on, in a three-on-one situation. Needless to say Ben tried his hardest, tap tackling the first attacker and bundling the second into the dug out, but unfortunately that was not enough and Spurs finished off a fine move to go 2-1 up and Clay subsequently collected a yellow card for his efforts.

Thorne, Nichol, Bargery and Chippy rallied the Sidmouth Massive into a frenzy and the famous Viking chant of ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls could be heard around the Exeter night air.

In a last throw of the dice, Burwood sacrificed himself for the speedy Kevin Tooze and along with Hughes and Jack Gibson it was now all or nothing.

Toozey had an immediate impact feeding ‘Jack from Ottery’; who in turn crossed for Jarrett to set up the marauding Scott Hughes to score with his first touch of the game. The crowd were ecstatic. What a final five minutes we had in store. Steve Spain and young Jack Knight were thrown on as Sidmouth went ‘gung-ho’ for victory.

End-to-end action it certainly was, with Matthews and Milford holding firm and Bodor and Wilkinson causing havoc at the other end. It was then, in the 91st minute, that Miller bulldozed his way through the tiring defence and saw his shot parried by the keeper.

With the ball rolling just beyond the goal post young Knight sprinted with the defender and got his toe to the ball to poke home what was surely the winner. But no, the ref said the ball had not crossed the line!

Urged to consult the linesman the crowd were spell bound as both ref and linesman Willey consulted. Seconds seemed like minutes and then it was all over - the goal had been given.

Had young Knight and Willey just won the cup for Sidmouth?

With one minute to go Burwood brought on the wiley old head of Danny Clay, who immediately had an impact picking up a yellow card for grabbing an opponent. That was the last incident of an incredible match - it was all over.

There then followed amazing scenes as the crowd invaded the pitch carrying off both players and coaching staff.

Geoff West was full of praise for his team and indeed the whole crowd and had a tear in his eye as skipper Ash Matthews lifted the cup.

Speaking afterwards Danny Burwood said “Not being one for football cliché’s I am over the moon. The players gave me everything , I could not have asked for more”. Adding to this Coach Pocock said, “I feel for Spurs they must be sick as parrots but our boys deserved this after a long, hard season”.

Celebrations went on deep into the night and an open top bus parade has been scheduled for later in the week.

Sidmouth Town:

Ash Matthews (Capt)

Max Dummet

Ferenc Bodor

Matt Salter

Jack Hatswell

Danny Burwood

Brandon Milford (GK)

Tom Diamond

Joe Wilkinson

Jack Lewis

Lewis Pocock


Scott Hughes

Jack Gibson

Kevin Tooze

Ollie Jarrett

Ben Miller

Ben Clay

Steve Spain

Jack Knight

Danny Clay

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