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Matches off-the gates were locked at Exmouth Town on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 3088-06-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Clay seals Exmouth Town win with debut goal

Thursday, February 16, 2012
8.46 PM

Appledore 0:1 Exmouth Town

After weather enforced two week lay off Town returned to winning ways with victory at nine-man Appledore, writes John Dibsdall.

On a sticky North Devon surface Town settled well and were quickly into their passing game and should have scored at least once in the first half.

Dave O’Connor had the best chance, but pulled his shot wide. James Turner shot straight at the ‘keeper when well placed and Jac Civill shot over from the edge of the box.

Town nearly paid for these misses but Sandy Allen pulled off a fine save to ensure the sides went into the break on level terms.

Within ten minutes of the second half the home side were reduced to nine men.

First an Appledore player got a straight red for an off the ball incident and three minutes after he departed he was joined in the dressing room by a team mate who had seen red for a dangerous tackle on Jamie Moore.

The unfortunate Moore limped off shortly afterwards to be replaced by Tom Taylor.

Appledore, not surprisingly then opted to defend in depth and whilst Town enjoyed almost total possession a combination of poor passing and solid defending kept the score line blank.

Town’s goal came on seventy minutes when debutant Ben Clay drove forward from his full back position and his powerful shot was deflected into the goal.

Town should have gone on and won the game more convincingly but the heavy pitch and lack of match practice showed.

They were also missing the artistry of Kerry Butler and the wing play of Andrew Jones both of whom should be available this Saturday when they travel to Torquay based Upton Athletic for a Devon Premier Cup Quarter final tie, kick off 2.00pm.