Sidmouth Town net late goal to bag deserved point

Sidmouth Town 2, Okehampton Argyle 2 The Vikings left it late to bag a share of then spoils in this Manstone Lane match, scoring the games fourth goal in the final minute.

The early exchanges would have left the Vikings faithful feeling confident about the outcome.

Darren Thomas was prominent in early part of the game, but it was then visitors who created the first opportunity which drew a splendid save from Luke Ashford when he first parried, and then bravely gathered, a long-range free-kick.

Once again though it was a cluster of individual errors and the distinct lack of a final pass that saw opportunities go begging at one end, whilst offering hope to the visitors at the other end!

A miscued clearance by Dan Churchill saw a visiting player get a shot in that Ashford did brilliantly to keep out, but soon after a free header from six-yards gave the Vikings glovesman no chance to see Okehampton into the lead.

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The equaliser came ten minutes before the break with Andy Isaac the scorer and the splendid Jake Boyland accredited with the assist.

The second half saw more of the same. The Vikings, with a tweaked system, got themselves into plenty of encouraging positions , but all too often the final ball was either inaccurate or simply the wrong choice.

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The visitors’ regained the lead on the hour mark. A corner was not cleared by the Vikings defence and, from the edge of the area the ball was drilled through a crowd of legs and into the home net.

With the lead and the wind in their sails, Okehampton looked for match-sealing third. They were denied by the exceptional Ashford who made a string of fine saves.

At the other end of the pitch Isaac, Dan Norman and Mike Stamp all missed chances to level.

With less than a minute to play Dan Norman, a constant menace to the visitors defence throughout the contest, twisted and turned out wide before pulling the ball back to Dan Tavender who’s shot was deflected home by Tony Cox ,wrong footing the keeper.

With the last kick of the game Town had earned a point that was definitely the least they deserved.

Town boss Paddy Thomas said: “The big plus on from this one if that we did not lose. Credit must go to the players for their non-stop belief that if they kept asking questions then something would happen. However, once again the very basics were not done properly and that is out Achilles heel right now. Luke Ashford was fantastic, he looks after himself in the right manner. He is a highly motivated young man who hates losing and is a class act. I was also impressed with the way Darren Thomas skippered the side from midfield. Dan (Norman) and Andy (Isaac) clearly have goals in them, it’s just that they need to be more in tune as a striking pair. There’s room for improvement in all areas, but there’s no reason why we can’t get where we want to if we are all prepared to work for the cause.”

The Vikings are in Exeter tomorrow taking on table–topping Exwick Villa who they also meet a week tomorrow at Manstone Lane in a Graddon Vending Devon Premier Cup tie.

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