Cooper strike completes superb Town comeback in Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 07:29 02 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:29 02 November 2018

Exmouth Town at home to Elburton Villa. Ref exsp 42 18TI 2827. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth Town at home to Elburton Villa. Ref exsp 42 18TI 2827. Picture: Terry Ife

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The FA Vase bandwagon rolls into Town again this Saturday (November 3) when Western League Premier Team Cadbury Heath are the visitors for a second round tie, writes John Dibsdall.

Town have already won three times in the competition whilst the Bristol-based side have defeated Sidmouth 5-0 in the previous round and before that they won 2-1 at New Milton of the Wessex League.

Cadbury Heath are currently ninth in the league with four wins and four draws from their eleven games played. Last Saturday they drew 1-1 with Buckland Athletic, now managed by ex-Town boss Richard Pears.

The winners of the tie will receive £900 and the losers £300. Extra-time will be played if necessary with a replay next Wednesday (November 7), if the sides remain level.

Town will go into the match brimming with confidence following their stunning fightback last Saturday when they came from 3-1 down to defeat top Cornish side St Austell 4-3.

As you would expect from a side that had scored a dozen goals in their last two home games, the ‘Lillywhites’ started strongly, but Town eased their way into the game and it was somewhat against the run of play when the home side opened the scoring on 37 minutes. A long ball out of defence and a first time shot from the edge of the penalty area saw the ball nestling in the bottom corner.

Town went into the break on level terms after Aaron Denny had set up Ace High to let go a pile-driver that was too hot for the ‘keeper to hold.

Five minutes into the second half and the hosts had regained the lead and then, despite having a central defender sent off for two yellow cards, scored their third with an unfortunate own goal with 30 minutes remaining.

Seven minutes later Town had reduced the deficit with a Nathan Cooper shot and two minutes later the equaliser came from a most unlikely source.

On as a substitute, following an injury to Kieran Willdigs, Steve Avery collected the ball fully 40-yards from goal near the left hand touchline. His driven cross was completely missed by an air kick from the defender leaving a stunned ‘keeper stranded as the ball ended up in the back of the net! As both sides looked for the winner, High had a header cannon back off the crossbar, Cooper had a shot well saved until, with just three minutes of normal time remaining, Dan Boere lobbed the ‘keeper and Cooper followed up to walk the ball home.

With injuries to players from both sides, almost 10 minutes of added time was played before the final whistle was blown to the relief of the 40 plus Town supporters that had made the trip.

Apart from Willdigs, Denny sustained a hamstring injury and Town were already missing Jamie Dirrane who has had a hernia operation.

Town manager Kevin Hill will be hoping that Willdigs and Denny are fit for Saturday knowing that Dirrane will probably be missing until December.

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