The latest from Exmouth Town boss Richard Pears looking at the win over Axminster and the big month of December to come.

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Town boss Richard Pears was full of praise for his team after their 4-0 victory over Axminster Town.

The Southern Road boss said: “It was even more of a battle than I had expected. I knew that they (Axminster) would look to make it physical, but, in my opinion some of the physicality went over and above the norm. Indeed I’d use the single word brutal to describe some of the tackling that was served up by the visitors. What I will say is that the referee was first class. He was certainly busy and I accept that we picked up four bookings which is not good, but in each case, in terms of our bookings, I felt they were dished out after my players had simply stood up for themselves. I had suggested pre-match we may need to show we were capable of fighting fire with fire and that is just how it panned out!”

He continued: “Once Axminster’s initial physical approach had blown itself out I felt we took near total charge of the football and I was delighted with our approach. I though the support the players gave each other was a great advert for the camaraderie that we have in the Southern Road dressing room. I certainly got the feeling it was a case of one for all and all for one and when you have that sort of collective desire in a dressing room you know you are onto a good thing.”

Whilst Pears was quick to include all his players in the praise stakes following the Axminster win he did have one player to single out. He said: “I thought Ace High was immense in the game. It was almost like he came off age. I doubt he has ever had such a tough time in a single game as he did in this one. Some of the challenges he faced were robust, to say the least! Rather than react he simply kept going back for more and got his very deserved reward with his brace of goals. Ace is learning all the time and he is certainly proving to be a willing learner. He has had to wait his chance, but he’s done that in exactly the right manner and I am so pleased that it all came off for him on Saturday.”

The Town boss sprung a surprise with his team selection as he left the talented Lloyd Gardner out of the starting line-up. He explained the decision saying: “I felt that it was never going to be his sort of contest and so it proved. Lloyd is a skilful and very articulate player. He did come on later in the game when much of the physical stuff had come been and gone. What I would say is that his reaction to being left out was simply first-class. I want all my players to be clear that the lonely way they can be sure of a starting place is to bag the shirt in the game before. I want consistency week in and week out. That said there are, as indeed Saturday was, going to be occasions when I will make changes to line-ups and tactics for particular oppositions. It’s very much a squad game these days an , over the course of a full season, if we are going to be successful, we need every one of our squad to be ready to do whatever job is asked of them.”

Pears and his team remain unbeaten and their title ambitions were given areal lift with news that two of their key rivals for the top honour both lost. Pears says: “There’s a long way to go and points are going to be dropped. However, from our angle its so important that we keep winning, especially on weekends such as the last one when rivals do get beaten. For Teignmouth Town and Newton Abbot Spurs to both lose on a day when we win 4-0 is clearly in our favour, but as I say there’s a lot of football, still to be played and for me the key to any Town success this season is to keep our feet very firmly on the ground and try and keep our focus simply on the next game.”

Town have no game this coming weekend. Pears says: “We train as normal on Wednesday night and then will sit down and have something to eat together and then it’s a week off for the lads. Not so for me though as I plan to either pull some kit on myself and play for the Town Reserves or perhaps I’ll venture across to Axminster to take a look at Newton Abbot who we face in league and cup in a very busy, and I feel pivotal, month of December.”

In December Pear’s and his men face Newton Abbot in the Devon Premier Cup and also in the league and they are also set to play another of the fancied sides Teignmouth Town in the month which also serves up the now annual Boxing Day derby game with Budleigh Salterton.

Pears says: “December looks to be a big month. What’s clear is that if we are still talking unbeaten records come January 1st the we are going to be in an even stronger position.”

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