Sidmouth Warriors Under-13s net with final kick to seal promotion back to Division One
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Warriors Under-13s ended their Exeter and District Youth League campaign in the most dramatic fashion possible, scoring twice in the last few minutes – the second with what was the last kick of the contest – to defeat hosts West Exe 5-4 and seal a third place finish in Division Tow which means they will, play in Division One as an Under-14 team next season.
Warriors began well and set the tone for a terrific team performance stringing together a 15-pass move before an opposition player got a touch of the ball!
However, despite dominating the early exchanges, Warriors fell behind inside 15 minutes and soon found themselves staring down the barrel, trailing 3-0, with promotion hopes seemingly sunk!
They gained a foothold back in the contest when the ever-reliable goal scorer that is Connor Brown applied a smart finish to a good team move and half-time sent Warriors in just two goals in arrears.
During the break, Warriors regrouped and the coaching staff urged the team to be patients for, playing with the slope in their favour in the second half, would surely bring chances to get right back into the game.
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Patient Warriors were most certainly not! For, within five minutes of the re-start, they were level! A quick-fire double from Stanley Richardson left Warriors, not only on level terms, but in the driving seat.
However, disaster struck when the home side managed to finally break out of their defensive third and launch a counter attack that ended with them regaining the lead – and with just 10 minutes left to play!
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Warriors piled on the pressure but the ball would just not run for the visitors and the West Exe goalie was having ‘one of those days’ when he was equal to the very best that warriors could throw at him.
Warriors kept plugging away and their fortitude was rewarded when a Teague free-kick out near the corner flag found Joe Ashby making a clever run between defenders and he glanced home a lovely header to equalise.
What followed was five minutes of end-to-end attacking football as both teams went in search of a winner.
Warriors goalkeeper Christian Teague was called off his line numerous times to intercept long balls.
With a minute left on the watch, Warriors found themselves deep in the West Exe half, with a throw-in near the corner flag. Richardson found Ashby in the penalty area and he managed to wriggle his way to the bye-line before cutting the ball back to Brown who blasted home from close range to secure the win – and promotion – with literally the last kick of the match!
Bedlam broke out on the pitch with Sidmouth players, coaches and parents rejoicing! Truly unforgettable scenes and a match that will live long in the memory!
Later that day, still very excited, the team convened at the Blue Ball Inn, Sidford for a fabulous awards evening to celebrate a brilliant season.
Jed Ionov-Flint was named the most improved, Christian Teague picked up the trophy for best attitude; Connor Brown and Joe Ashby shared the leading goal scorer honour, Samuel Rice was named the Exeter Youth League Award winner, the Manager’s Player of the Year award went to Alex Bennett and the Warriors’ Players’ Player of the Year trophy went home with Stanley Richardson.
Special mention to Stanley who has worn the green shirt since the age of six, but is now moving away from the area. Stan, we will all miss you and we thank you for being an amazing Warrior over the years.