Upsher at the double as Ottery Under-14s return to action with home win
- Credit: Archant
After a six week absence of playing owing to the recent run of wet weather, Ottery Under-14s made a winning return to action as they eased their way into the last eight of the Exeter & District League Cup with a 5-2 home win over Culm Sampford.
Ottery coach Aidy Carpenter was keen to give squad members game time and started with Alfie Gibbins and Will Reid in the back four. Ever present centre-back Rowan Hewitt started the game on the bench along with defender Tom Bennett, returning from a spell of injuries.
And it was the home side that started the strongest, with Jake Johnson making some good runs down the left flank. However, the Culm Sampford keeper was in fine form, denying Johnson on three occasions with great saves and Finn Upsher on another.
It was the visitors who struck first, taking a 23rd minute lead, but six minutes before the break, Ottery were level with Finn Upsher pouncing to net from close range after a Jake Blackmore shot was saved on the line.
After the break Johnson continued to threaten down the left, Jack Carpenter was getting forward when he could and Seb Copp was influencing the battle in midfield.
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Alfie Gibbins was reading the game well and making some strong tackles and winning some crucial balls in the air. Playing beside him, Will Reid looked strong in defence alongside skipper Fin Lashbrook. Tom Bennett came off the bench and looked lively down the right.
Seven minutes into the second half, Man of the Match Jack Carpenter fired the Otters into a 2-1 lead with Sam Gleeson responsible for the assist.
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Freddie Clarke was introduced from the bench and he was soon in the thick of the action and 12 minutes into the half it was 3-1 with Copp netting and Johnson having the assist. Shortly after it was 4-1 as a Bennett corner was turned home by Johnson.
A minute later and Ollie Milton forced a save from the CS keeper. Shortly after, a sumptuous back-flick from Copp found Upsher with only the keeper to beat but the Ottery striker couldn't keep the ball down and blazed over the crossbar.
Culm Sampford weren't giving up the ghost and, with three minutes to go scored a deserved second after Ottery keeper Jack Hembrow had saved the first effort on target.
Upsher wrapped things up two minutes from the end picking the ball up thirty yards out on the left, beating his marker and firing in from a tight angle to make it 5-2. The young striker could have bagged a hat-trick just before the final whistle beating the keeper with a rasping volley that struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down the wrong side of the line.
Boss Carpenter said: "The lads have returned to competitive football well after the enforced six week break. In the end I think we got what we deserved and, on another day our finishing could have been better. That said there were some good performances out there."
This weekend there's a double header of action for the Otters with Saturday's home league game against Moors followed on Sunday with a trip to Plymouth-based marine Academy for a 3rd Round Devon Cup tie.