The best part of a week has passed since Exmouth Town’s last minute FA Vase defeat to Sherborne Town and Southern Road boss Richard Pears still wonders how his side failed to put out a third successive Western league outfit, writes Steve Birley.

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Pears says: “It hurts so much. If ever there was a golden opportunity then it was last Saturday when we could and should have been planning a 2nd Round tie against St Blazey. To lose the way we did and know that we ought to have had the game won long before their late winner, was really hard to take. We were the masters of our own downfall as we failed to take first half opportunities to put real daylight between the teams and then we were guilty of some naivety in the second half that ultimately cost us dearly.”

He continued: “Everything was there for us. The club were magnificent, they could not have done more for us and it was a very special day all round, A large crowd, a vibrant club house, lots of people beavering away doing all sorts of jobs, but sadly we were unable to do ours on the pitch. Post match I had a mixture of disappointment and plain anger. I felt we missed a trick there to really plant one foot on the footballing map. The thing that rankles with me most is that we have now faced three Toolstation League sides, one Premier and two First Division and, on each occasion we have been the better side, and by some distance too! But when it really mattered we came up short. The important thing now is that those who made mistakes and those who felt they should have done things differently in any given situation, learn from them and, when we undoubtedly get another crack at a big result, hopefully we will have learnt from the pain and disappointment that we were all forced to feel at full time against Sherborne when we had enough in our locker to have eased our way into the next round draw. Perhaps it is a measure of how far we have lifted the Town bar in such a short space of time that the disappointment is so strong. We have tried to set standards that, if we are going to take the club on to the next level, need to be maintained. Lifting myself for the next game is going to be as tough as I am sure it will be for some of the players to get over the defeat. We will get over it, of course, but it is never easy when you have suffered such a bitter blow as we were hit with. I didn’t feel we were going lose that game at any stage and so, when they (Sherborne) scored with only added time to play, clearly we were not going to have sufficient time left to get back at them. You could argue that the opposition timed it perfectly, but anyone who saw the 93 or so minutes of action will surely feel we did enough to win. So we have to lick our wounds quickly and make sure that we quickly get back to winning ways.”

Next up for Town is this Saturday’s Southern Road Throgmorton Cup tie with Axminster Town who they have already met this season in the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division when the sides drew 0-0 at Sector Lane back on the first day of the season.

Pears says of the meeting with the Tigers: “In a way it’s the perfect bounce-back game. They (Axminster Town) are on a role having been unbeaten in the league since late August. What’s more the way they despatched Exeter Civil Service last time out suggests they are in tremendous form. So there will be no resting on laurels in our dressing room. I am banking on the players being just as sick as I am about the Sherborne defeat and hope that they will use that as motivation to go out and do a number on the visiting side on Saturday.”

Pears rounded things off saying: “With such a fantastic turn-out for the FA Vase tie, and I would like to thank publicly each and everyone of the supporters who turned out to cheer us on, its important that we get back to business quickly. So many people put so much time and effort into making it all so special last weekend that the least we can do now is go out and win the next match and dedicate it to the supporters and the back room people at Southern Road, here’s hoping.”

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