Exmouth Town suffer first home defeat in 22 months as they exit the FA Cup

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 had to endure a tough and frustrating week where commitment and effort at the end of the day counted for nothing as they slipped to consecutive 2-0 defeats, writes John Dibsdall.

Last Saturday they entertained Melksham Town from the Southern League in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.

The Wiltshire-based side were well placed in their league when last season came to a premature end being in fifth place and a play-off spot.

Town were hoping that they could repeat last season’s heroics in this competition when they overcame higher league opposition in the form of Barnstaple Town and Yate Town.

From the outset there was little to choose between the sides with Town enjoying their share of possession and Mark Lever saw a fine shot tipped around the post with six minutes gone. Robbie Powell was confident dealing with crosses and the sides went into the break on level terms.

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The visitors took the lead two minutes into the second half when the vast majority of a near capacity crowd were baying for offside, but to no avail.

Play then became very scrappy with Melksham content to slow the game down at every opportunity and Town were unable to gain any control or momentum in their play. Melksham added their second on 73 minutes and, from that moment, it was effectively game over.

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The previous Tuesday, Town had ventured down the A38 for their first league match of the season against old rivals Plymouth Parkway.

Their hosts are clearly one of the favourites to lift the Western League title this season having strengthened their squad considerably in the close season, adding players that last season had been playing two leagues higher.

From the outset Town were under pressure and were indebted to Powell for making three important saves.

The goal finally came on 28 minutes when a driven cross was turned home at the far post. Town then enjoyed their own spell of possession and forced a series of corners and Tom Gardner will be wondering how he failed to score when his firm header went the wrong side of the upright.

Town were the dominant side for the first 20 minutes of the second with Aarron Denny flashing a drive narrowly wide and Jordan Harris delaying his shot just long enough for the ‘keeper to close him down and block the shot.

As with all good sides, they score goals at the crucial time, and, with 70 minutes gone Parkway added their second.

Unfortunately the game ended on a sour note with a very rash challenge on Denny resulting in a straight red for the Parkway player, River Allen, and a red for Tim Bradshaw for retaliation.

Two tough games for sure where Town were never out of them but it is imperative you take your chances when they arise.

It’s probably not going to be a lot easier this week when Town entertain Tavistock in the league on Wednesday evening and then Mousehole, who have been scoring goals for fun this season, visit Southern Road for an FA Vase tie.

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