Vikings ready to push for Peninsula

Changes are on the way for Sidmouth Town who drew 2-2 with Wellington away on Saturday, but their glory days are far from over, writes Lee Glanville.

It’s a marker of how far the Vikings’ 1st XI have come when supporters are down in the dumps about a draw, especially when it’s on the back of one lost league match and one lost cup match allseason!

And the beauty of Devon and Exeter competition is that everyone’s pitch is different, and the teams have to adapt. Manager Paul Ashford has put his hand up and admitted that he got it wrong at Wellington - who play on a big pitch. But he also believes that, when push comes to shove, the players have to take responsibilty too.

He said: “I am ambitious, everyone knows that. But we have to remember that these players aren’t paid and the majority are playing for enjoyment. But it is much more enjoyable when you win!

“It is also well known that I am no Sunday manager - and players shouldn’t waste my time by going out on the lash on a Friday night if they want to feature in Saturday’s line up. It is supposed to be fun for me too. I know the players can reach a high standard, we proved that when taking top Peninsula team Liverton to extra time in cup action, and there is no reason we can’t aim to play like that each week.”

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Sidmouth had a tardy start against Wellington and were 2-0 down by half time. Wellington were backs to the wall in the second half, Sidmouth having enough chances to go 4-2 ahead, but they had to settle for 2-2. Wes Tarr got the first goal and Andrew Thomson levelled when his shot was parried by the keeper over the line.

“ We did have injuries and unavailabilities due to suspensions, but there are enough players to be able to buckle down and get a result,” Ashford added.

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And there are no easy games in Premier. Wellington were third from the foot of the table.

This weekend they are away to Clyst Valley, the side poised just below them in the table in fourth, although Clyst have played two matches more than the Vikings.

With the top five Premier teams having applied for promotion to the Peninsula League, achieving that ambition, having come so close last year, will be a tough ask. The lucky side will have to win the league and have all the facilities in place to make the move.

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