Thursday, May 1, 2014
It is crunch time for Exmouth Town as they welcome the new leaders of the South West Peninsula League, Premier Division, Plymouth Parkway, to Southern Road this Saturday (3pm), writes John Dibsdall.
After last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Godolphin Atlantic Town are now a point behind and the Plymouth side have two games in hand. Town remain five points clear of third place Ivybridge but they have to go there on May Bank Holiday Monday (3pm).
Failure to win either game could see Town slip to fourth if Saltash win their games in hand.
Town travelled to Newquay based Godolphin buoyed by an ultra - professional 2-0 victory over the reigning champions, Bodmin Town, last Wednesday, a win that ended their hopes of retaining their title.
After a cautious opening Town gradually gained the initiative although it took a ‘goal of the season’ candidate to break the deadlock on sixty minutes. A Dan Boere corner was headed back by James Ansell to Kevin Hill waiting on the edge of the box and his crisply struck right foot volley flew into the top corner. Town’s second goal came ten minutes later and was entirely due to the dogged determination of Ansell.
He hounded a defender to the extent he lost control of the ball and then pounced to round Kevin Miller in the Bodmin goal and calmly pass the ball into the unguarded net. Whilst Bodmin tried to force their way back into the game such was Town’s discipline and determination they failed to register any serious attempt on goal throughout the ninety minutes.
Town always knew the trip to Godolphin was going to be tough and so it proved. Their cause was seriously hampered with a freak accident to ‘keeper Chris Wright in the opening minute.
Heavy rain had made the playing surface very wet and what looked to be a regular and innocuous back pass was caught by a strong wind and skidded to the extent that Wright was forced to dive to save and his momentum took him crashing into a goal post. Whilst he continued to play the injury to his shin and calf clearly hampered his movement and inadvertently contributed to the only goal. Normally a reliable and long kicker of a dead ball his goal kick was held up in the wind and when headed towards goal Town’s covering defence was ‘absent without leave’ allowing a forward clear space to run through and score. After the match Wright was clearly in a lot of pain and it is doubtful if he will be fit to play this weekend.
The goal came on nineteen minutes and Town thought they had equalised two minutes later, but Lloyd Gardner’s effort was ruled out for offside in the build up. You could see why the home side had suffered just one home defeat all season that had included wins over Parkway and Bodmin. Their uncompromising approach and an ability to play some neat and constructive football made them difficult to break down and always dangerous going forward.
In truth Town were never able to exercise full control over the game and failed to create any clear cut chances. Equally the home side were unable to add to their tally but were more than content with the solitary goal. The game may have taken a different course had a very unsavoury moment in the first half been viewed by the match officials the same as the Referee’s Assessor. A dangerous tackle on Danny Clay saw a central defender shown a yellow card by the referee after consulting his assistant whilst the assessor deemed it a straight red without hesitation. Such is life!
Town’s reserves also suffered a setback in their campaign losing 2-0 to Cheriton Fitzpaine. They are home on Monday (May 5) when Axmouth are the visitors (3pm).