Seaton Town 2, Budleigh Salterton 1

Having lost three keys players on the morning of the match, each to do duty with the club’s senior side, plus others not being available, including the manager, the Robins Reserves travelled with a bare eleven hoping no one got injured or sent-off, with the captain taking on the role of player-manager, writes SpursTom.

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Having witnessed two cup finals between Seaton and Budleigh’s first team at the end of last season (one victory each), and with no disrespect to the depleted Budleigh Reserves team, I visualised victory for the Seasiders by possibly a high score, and I am glad to be proven wrong!

Yes, the Robins did lose but it was a very much closer contest than anticipated.

Budleigh’s tactic was to try and get into the game as early as they could, if possession was lost to try and regain it quickly, thus stopping Seaton’s usual type of flowing play, and see what they could produce themselves. This looked to be working and it was end to end stuff.

The home side had a goal disallowed on 32 minutes for an unfair challenge on the keeper and moments later they hit the post direct from a free-kick. At the other end the home defence came under pressure at times. The deadlock was broken on 42 minutes, and it was the Seasiders’ Jake Hayes who made it 1-0 to the hosts at the interval.

It took Budleigh only five minutes after the restart to even the score, a punt from Alex Richardson was fed to Barnaby Pender down the right, I thought his cross was put in by a defender for an own goal, but Josh Hill seemed to be at the centre of the congratulations (confirmed later by his teammates). Budleigh almost took the lead but for good save by the keeper on a one to one situation. The woodwork came to the rescue of both sides, plus goal line clearances at either end in this enthralling match.

Seaton had the luxury of being able to call on three substitutes in the later stages, and this their manager, Josh Stunell, shrewdly did to conjure up a win, with fresh legs getting the better of tired ones paving the way for a Cameron Vere 86th minute strike for 2–l victory.

A good feature of the match was the handling by referee Robert Thorne, who was given a combined average of 95 out of a 100.

Though the captain stated no individual should be singled out for Man of the Match, the player who stood out most in my opinion was Leigh Jones. He know his chances of starting a match is very much limited, he may have struggled at times, but he give it his all, just that shade more and enough to get my vote.

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