Sidmouth Town Reserves set for big game that could bring promotion

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Culm. Ref shsp 6000-17-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Culm. Ref shsp 6000-17-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Three wins in eight days over Newton Poppleford, Culm United and Cullompton have moved Sidmouth Town Reserves up to second place in Division Two.

It all means now that if they avoid defeat in tomorrow’s (April 25) Manstone Lane meeting with Chulmleigh then they will guarantee a top three finish and with it bag a place in the second tier of Fresha League football next season.

Popples were defeated 3-0 at home in the first meeting between the nearest of neighbours at Sidmouth for a generation.

Lowly Culm United were trounced 5-0 as the Vikings’ winning run reached seven games in the league.

After a scoreless first half against the Popples, a triple substitution early in the second saw the Vikings pose more threat and tighter at the back.

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A succession of corners culminated in Will Jenkins’ excellent delivery being met by Jake Boyland’s header to put the home side ahead.

Rikki Pitter found the room to shoot home from inside the box for a two-goal cushion.

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Jenkins added a third towards the end with a half-volley on the turn that nestled in the corner past an unsighted keeper.

A confident Town dispatched relegation-threatened Culm, earning the right by doing all the ugly, attritional stuff in the first half, playing the percentages whilst the visitors looked dangerous on the break.

Culm passed the ball better but a strong performance from the home back line negated any threats.

Going forward the Vikings looked to Borja Andrade, in his final game for the club, and the latest 16-year-old to make his bow for the reserves, Joe Gosse, and both threatened.

It was main striker Rich Johnson who opened the scoring with a quality turn and shot.

The second half saw the Vikings up their energy although the first action was at the Vikings’ end as Dec Lines was forced to save with his feet to prevent an equaliser.

Sub Sam Marriott combined with fellow 16-year-old Gosse, the latter finishing cleverly for a debut goal.

Culm continued to pass the ball around their box and a wayward pass saw Johnson react the quickest to add his second.

From this point Town dominated. Gosse twice went close before skipper Damien Armes’ weighted free-kick was met by the head of Marriott to make it four.

The debate still rages as to whether Mark Burdus did get a touch to Jean-Paul Staniforth’s acrobatic goal-bound effort that brought an end to the scoring.

Gosse earned the man of the match honours for a performance of energy, composure and knowledge.

The Vikings, who won 1-0 at Cullompton on Wednesday night, entertain Chumleigh on Saturday before travelling to Crediton on Monday (7.30pm).

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