Tip top start for Tipton St John
- Credit: Archant
Tip top start for Tipton St John
Playing in a restructured League against unfamiliar opposition, Tipton St John have enjoyed a fine start in the Devon and Exeter League Division 1 East.
Three wins and two draws from their opening five games has been an impressive return, and the only regret is a break in momentum as we await the resumption of fixtures. Resounding victories over Exmouth Spartans and Lympstone, a hard-fought win against Otterton and two battling draws all adds up to a happy opening.
“We’ve enjoyed a good start,” said Joint-Manager Kevin Sexton. “With the way things have been worked out, all the teams in the League, apart from Lympstone, are new to us.
“We didn’t know who we would be up against and our pre-season wasn’t great for results, although most of our games were against Premier Division sides.
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“The game with Exmouth Spartans on the opening day turned out to be a great performance.
“We created chances, scored goals and a great hat-trick from Josh Bradley. It was the ideal start to win 7-2 against a new opponent.
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“It was then on to East Budleigh and a game where we got away with a point, to be honest.
“We went 1-0 down, pulled the game level but didn’t play well in the second half. East Budleigh had plenty of chances and possibly could have put the game out of sight.
“Eventually, they did take the lead and we only got a draw in the last couple of minutes, when Jake Freeman hit a shot that bounced down off the bar to cross the line.
“The referee, Brian Holmes, awarded the goal and he was in a good position to see.
“Lympstone were the side we had played previously and a game of two halves because it was 0-0 at half-time.
“We were also missing a few players but as soon as we scored a penalty for the opener, we managed to add a couple more in quick succession to secure the win.
“It was then a 3-1 win over a physical Otterton side and we played well in the game. We went 1-0 up, created numerous chances and they had a goal ruled out for offside, which did lead to a big dispute with the referee.
“We scored another but Otterton came back well before they had a man sent off, which enabled us to see out the game. “We should have beaten Clyst Valley, had chances in the game but didn’t take them, so it ended 2-2.”
Tipton St John will now take their unbeaten run to three successive games at home when football starts up again, when the visitors will be Lyme Regis Reserves, Dunkeswell and Lympstone.
“Looking at their results and where those teams are positioned in the league, we need to be looking for maximum points before Christmas,” added Sexton. “Before Covid, we were due to play Honiton home and away, so we would like to think we would have picked up six points from that. “The games have all been changed now but we will be looking for maximum points, and see how we go in the New Year.
Prior to the start of the current campaign, there was some restructuring across the Devon and Exeter League, reducing games to understandably try and fit in a full season.
“It is difficult for clubs higher up the leagues with first-team games to arrange but that doesn’t apply to us because we’ve only got the one team,” said Sexton.
“The League reorganised the structure to section things into different areas and reduced the number of games. It is still enough to have 22 fixtures in a season.
“We are only two games away from where we were last year, so the League has done a good job so far.
“The Devon FA release information that filters out through the leagues, so we are all aware of the plans moving forward.”
As well as his duties on the sidelines, Sexton works as Club Treasurer and Secretary for Tipton St John, roles that he takes on with admirable calm.
“The treasury position is not too bad really, just a case of sorting the accounts for each year,” he said.
“Also with the secretary role, once the season gets up and running, it’s a case of liaising the opposition before games and then inputting results afterwards.
“The full-time system is pretty straightforward, so not too bad.
It is a dedication to the cause that will only benefit Tipton St John once we get back to playing football.