Exmouth Town edged out on a night when management team took a look at a number of new players

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK - Credit: Archant

Exmouth Town were beaten 2-1 in a behind-closed-doors game at South West Peninsula League Premier East outfit Newton Abbot Spurs.

Town began the game with a much-changed side from their first pre-season game, Saturday’s 5-1 win at Bovey Tracey.

Max Gillard, Callum Shipton and Jordan Harris were the only three ‘regulars’ from last season that were in the starting XI as Town manager Kevin Hill and number two Andy Rawlings opted to take a look at some of the new faces that have pitched up at Southern Road for pre-season.

There were no goals in a closely contested first half and then, after the home side had struck twice in the second half, Town introduced Aaron Denny for the final 10 minutes and he made an instant impression.

Indeed, from a move that involved Denny, it was Southern Road groundsman Scott Stevenson who won the penalty that was stroked home by Danny Pym to end the scoring on the night.

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Amongst a number of excellent performances, the undoubted Man of the Match, certainly as far as Town were concerned, was centre back Dan Cullen while Town supporters, had they been allowed to see the game, would have been thrilled and delighted to see Chris Wright back fit and playing in the Town goal after such a long spell on the side lines with a broken finger.

Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings said: “It was a very useful run out for the team. We made a number of changes in terms of the starting eleven and then continued to make changes throughout the contest so that all the 17 involved on the night got some action.

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“Getting ‘Wrighty’ [goalkeeper Chris Wright’ was special. He has been forced to sit out many months and so it’s great that he is now fit and back playing.”

He continued: “There was a very mature show at centre half from young Dan Cullen who was without doubt our star performer on the night.

“I have to say I’d rather us have 90 minutes like that and come out on the wrong end of the result because you learn far, far more about your side in such a game.

“At this stage of the pre-season what is most important is getting good game time into the players.

“Typical of that is Arron [Denny] who was feeling ‘tight’ after Saturday’s game and so we held him back to give him a late run-out and he changed the flow of our game. His touches and vision make him a special player.”

The Town number two also had special praise for a couple of players in addition to his lauding of young centre back Cullen.

He said: “Alfie Mahon at right back is a lad who has joined us this pre-season. He has previously played at Solent FC and he looks the part while once again we saw the gifted – and quick – feet of Zimbabwean Panashe Bean Nwamuka, who played in the hole.

“Pansahe is a wee bit on the small side and I fancy, in the heat of battle, he’ll get knocked over in terms of any physical contest, but my, he certainly has quick feet – though he does tend to need one touch too many. That said there is something to work with there for sure!”

On Wednesday night Town are back in action with a behind-closed-doors friendly at Sidmouth Town.

Dave Rowe and Tom Gardner will both be involved in the Manstone Lane fixture.

Town then plan a training ‘get-together’ and team bonding on Saturday at their Southern Road home before heading for North Devon and a Tuesday night friendly with Bideford.

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