Webb hat-trick as Otters move seven points clear at the top after five-star show in South Devon

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary remain unbeaten and stay top of the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League South & West table after a 5-0 success in South Devon.

Ottery St Mary have now gone some seven hours and 13 minutes without conceding a goal after a 5-0 Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League South & West win at Lakeside, writes Steve Birley.

The Otters, who journeyed to South Devon looking to record a fourth successive clean sheet win, last conceded a goal in the 13th minute of their September 26 home game against the Plymouth Argyle FITC Development XI.

Since then, Otters goalkeeper Jacob O’Callaghan has not had to retrieve the ball from the back of his net!

This latest success was summed up by Ottery boss Billy Rouse who said: “Without doubt this was one of our most complete all-round performances to date.

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“We were hamstrung by a number of injuries to key players and travelled without the services of Liam Carey who is now on the injured list, as indeed yours truly is.

“In addition we had Pete Grover and Connor Hannaford both unavailable and so we dug into the club’s second team and in came Mike Benyon, Jack Hobday and Riki Pitter, who all impressed - further evidence, if any were needed - that the one club continues to deliver with regard to it’s motto of ‘working in the right direction’.

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“It’s so pleasing for a manager when he can comfortably bring in three or four players into the group and its seamless in terms of what the team serves up!”

The Otters opened the scoring with a clinical finish from Luka Nickles after he had been put through by Mike Benyon.

Scorer then turned provider as Nickles provided the pass that got Matt Webb away down the left and he cut inside before drilling the ball beyond the home goalkeeper.

Goal number three was a footballing ‘thing of beauty’ with Ben Lawrence launching the move with a powerful run from the defensive third, skipping his way through a number of challenges before he found Jordan Burrows who then played the ball first time into Benyon and, when he moved it on to Pym, the latter thread the sweetest of passes into the path of Webb who rifled the ball home!

That left Ottery trooping off at the break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.

There was more of the same in the second half with Ottery very much the dominant force.

Rikki Pitter and Jack Hobday were introduced from the bench and were quickly into the thick of the action.

Indeed, it was Pitter who set up the chance for the fourth goal when he showed great close control to hold the ball up in the area before drawing a foul that gave the referee no option other than to award a spot kick and Webb smashed it home to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-0.

Dan Gill then found Hobday 20 yards from goal and his first touch took him beyond the defender, giving him sufficient time to look up and fire the ball into the bottom corner to complete the scoring.

It was not all one-way, but yet again, the now water-tight back line in front of Otters glovesman ‘shut-out king’ O’Callaghan, did their job, and the Otters march on at the top of the table.

The Otters are now seven points clear at the top of the table after a surprise 2-1 defeat to Okehampton Argyle, who went down 2-1 at Paignton Saints.

That leaves the top three in the table as:

Ottery with 28 points from 10 games, Buckland with 21 from seven and then Okehampton Argyle with 19 points from eight games.

Next up for the Otters is this Saturday’s (October 24) Washbrook Meadow meeting with Paignton Saints who climbed to fourth in the table after ending the Okehampton unbeaten start to the season.

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