Exmouth Town back to home winning ways with victory over Hallen
- Credit: Archant
A week of contrasting fortunes for Exmouth Town saw their unbeaten home league stretching back to December 26, 2018 cruelly snatched from them when they went down 4-3 to Shepton Mallet last Wednesday evening, but they bounced back to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-2 home win over Hallen, writes John Dibsdall.
In the Shepton Mallet game, Town’s first game back following their Covid-19 enforced 18-day day absence, their inactivity clearly showed in the opening minutes as the visitors dominated and missed three good goal scoring opportunities.
As Town gradually gained a presence Ace High shot into the side-netting and Aarron Denny’s individual trickery forced the ‘keeper into a good save who then denied a Tom Gardner header with another fine save.
The goal that Town’s pressure deserved came a minute before half-time when an excellent High cross caused confusion and resulted in an own goal.
The Mallet started the second half strongly and hit the underside of the bar following a series of corners and free kicks.
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The first turning point came on sixty minutes when Jordan Harris was shown a yellow card for an innocuous challenge and then was sent to the sin bin when he questioned the decision. During his 10-minute absence the visitors continued to press forward and equalised on 68 minutes when Gardner turned a cross into his own net.
Two minutes later and the visitors were ahead, albeit with a goal that had a big element of off-side about it!
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On 77 minutes, an excellent free flowing move was finished in style and the Mallet had added a third.
Six minutes from time, Ben Steer struck a fine shot into the corner and a fightback was on!
Going well into added time another free-kick from Town caused another goalmouth scramble resulting in the ball being deflected into the net and Town looked to have preserved their record.
But no, from the kick off the ball was eventually played forward and a player raced through on goal to hammer the final nail in Town’s previous 22-game unbeaten run.
The fact that there was an even greater suggestion of off-side with this goal, just added to the frustration.
On Saturday, visiting Hallen were boosted with inclusion of two loan players from Southern League Bristol Manor Farm, making their debuts.
Early exchanges were even as both sides had to come to terms with a swirling wind before Town fashioned the first chance on sixteen minutes.
An excellent midfield pass from Ben Steer found Ace High in space and his cross into the area was just a tad too strong for Jordan Harris to bring under control.
A minute later and this time another measured cross saw High pick out Callum Shipton who controlled the ball on his chest and calmly shot pass the keeper.
Hallen equalised on 24 minutes when a well worked ‘dummy’ free-kick squeezed pass Robbie Powell and his near post.
There followed a period of scrappy play with neither side able to exert any real pressure, but when Hallen failed to clear their line,s Max Gillard was on hand to rifle home and restore the lead.
Three minutes into the second hand and Town should have put this game to bed.
Steer had a fine run into the area, but saw his shot well saved, but the ball fell kindly to Aarron Denny and his effort brought a terrific save.
Town were now well on top and the third goal arrived on 63 minutes.
This time a Harris free-kick was too hot for the ‘keeper to hold and the ball squirmed from his grasp into the corner of the net.
Steer had another effort saved and Harris saw his shot saved by the feet of the now overworked custodian.
To their credit Hallen kept plugging away and were rewarded when a free kick was headed home but with the game now into added time Town gained the three points that takes them to eighth in the table with games in hand over the leaders.