Sidmouth Town Reserves hit for six at Upottery

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football generic picture - Credit: Archant

After last week’s uninspiring bore draw away to dilapidated Dawlish - no hot showers, no food and a pitch poached by cattle! – Sidmouth Town Reserves travelled to meet Fresha league Division two title chasing Upottery at their Glebe Park home where they succumbed to a 6-3 defeat.

With regular goalkeeper Dec Lines on first team duty another of the talented 16 year-olds in their first season of senior football, Adam Bartlett, was given his second team debut and another to make a first start was midfielder Sam Mariot .

Against a side that have scored the most goals in the division, the Vikings knew that staying in the game was the order of the day. Unfortunately a first half of indecision and lack of concentration, coupled with the hosts confidence and finishing power, saw Town staring into the abyss as they trailed 4-0 at the break.

That score line does not tell the whole story though! Town created good opportunities, particularly when Aidy Parr looked to be brought down in the area which would surely have led to a red card had the otherwise excellent match official not been unsighted by the incident.

With the emphasis on the positives from the half and a reminder of the team ethos and spirit with which this club plays, the Vikings set about salvaging something from the game.

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From the first whistle it was a different game with the visitors exerting the pressure. Parr on one side and Borja Andrade on the other, running their full-backs ragged.

It was Parr who crossed for Andrade to head home for his first goal in English football and throw the Vikings a lifeline. With the added belief Sidmouth pushed the home side back and, when Will ‘Rip van Winkle’ Jenkins volleyed speculatively at goal, Rich Johnson diverted the ball beyond the home custodian to break his goal-drought to make it 4-2. Unfortunately just as the comeback gathered further impetus an uncharacteristic error in the Town defence gave the home winger the chance to make it 5-2.

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Back came the Town forcing a melee in the Upottery box that let Andrade score his second. Right winger Tim Lister, playing in an unaccustomed left back role, began to link with Jenkins and Marriot, the youngsters showing maturity and confidence, whilst old hands Anthony Griffiths and Jean-Paul Stanniforth instilled the drive and desire in the team. Damien Armes came off the bench to make his return to the field after surgery.

In the final ten minutes Town threw everything they had at the home goal and were hit on the counter and so conceded a late sixth.

With one point from their last four games the Vikings second string have fallen off the pace for a top three finish. However there was much to be pleased with in this game. Adam Bartlett in the Sidmouth goal performed beyond his years and stature and in his fellow debutant Sam Marriot earned himself the Man of the Match award showing great strength, guile and composure. Also, the character shown and the manner in which the players conduct themselves make them a credit to the club.

This weekend presents a double-header for the team with Saturday’s Manstone Lane league meeting with Topsham Town Reserves followed on Sunday with a home game against Langdon when at stake will be a semi-final berth in the Bill Slee Cup.

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