East Budleigh 3, Beacon Knights 2

East Budleigh battled back from being two goals down in the first quarter of this match to beat Beacon Knights at Vicarage road last Saturday in what was a thoroughly entertaining encounter, writes Mark Auton.

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Budleigh were slow out of the blocks in this one, whilst the away side started on the front foot; Ten minutes in Rob Dance failed to hold a cross and in trying to redeem himself fouled a visiting attacker to concede a penalty and the first goal.

Knights continued to control the game and Steve Hitchcock came to Budleigh’s rescue clearing off the line, but with the very next attack Dance did well to parry the first effort, but was unable to prevent the follow up making it 2-0.

Budleigh may wish they had stayed at home, but with a change of formation they began to get a foothold in the game and after a good exchange of passes between Jack Howarth and Josh Whiller the former saw his pile driver tipped over.

Six minutes before the interval Budleigh got the break they needed when Dan Reynolds supplied the pass for Adam Jones who confidently lifted his finish over the advancing keeper and into the net.

With the half -time whistle approaching Budleigh almost levelled, but Dan Atkinson fired over from a Howarth corner.

Like the first half the second didn’t disappoint either! Ten minutes in Budleigh made a triple change as Alex Manning, Ben Rowland and Rich Pratt joined the action.

Two minutes later Budleigh won a corner and from Manning’s kick the visiting stopper dragged the ball over his own line to bring the hosts level.

Budleigh now had the bit between their teeth and on 63 minutes went in front for the first time. The ever improving Whiller laid the ball off for Rowland who struck a precision finish past the Knights keeper into the bottom corner.

Man of the Match Atkinson went close to a fourth denied by a good block, but Budleigh had Dance to thank for an equally good stop at the other end saving well with his legs.

Knights tried their hardest to find an equaliser, but Budleigh held firm with Phil Page and Andy Case mopping up in the heart of the defence and Reynolds snapping at every tackle in front of them.

The hard working Mike White was unlucky not to add his name to the score sheet when his rasping shot rattled the cross bar late on.

Budleigh will look to produce a similar result when they host Exeter University on Saturday, but will look to be on their game from the first minute.

East Budleigh Reserves will hope to beat the weather when they travel to Newton St Cyres on Saturday after losing yet another game to the elements at Starcross last week.

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