Battling Budleigh narrowly beaten at Alphington

PUBLISHED: 15:40 16 January 2019

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Budleigh Salterton went down 3-1 on their visit to Alphington for their latest South West Peninsula League Eastern Division outing, but it was yet another outing that resulted in the Robins putting in a mighty shift and yet having nothing to show for their terrific efforts, writes Alan Beer.

In what was very much a ‘game of two very different halves’ the Robins were second best throughout a first 45 minutes during which time they shipped three goals, but, by far the better side throughout a second half when they scored one and had chances to get two or three more!

Alphington were quickly into their stride and took a fifth minute lead with a straightforward close-range tap-in from Ryan Moody, who was in the right place at the right time to pounce after Budleigh goalkeeper Alan Doble had made an initial save, only for the ball to fall invitingly for the Alphas player.

Budleigh were close to a 15th minute equaliser, but a Johnny Hitchcock shot from the edge of the area was blocked in front of the line.

On the half hour Budleigh had a corner which was cleared up field by the home side and a ball from the right wing into the area was turned home by Bailey Jason-Ryan to make it 2-0.

Two minutes later Moody pounced again, seizing upon an error in the Budleigh defence and Budleigh trooped off at the break trailing 3-0.

Whatever Budleigh boss Rick Withers said during the interval clearly resonated with the Robins’ players for, from the re-start, they had an extra yard in their stride!

In the early second half exchanges, Hitchcock did well to send Max Robertson away and, when he crossed from the left side, George Pannell’s snap shot grazed the foot of the upright!

Budleigh striker Billy Green then saw a powerful strike tipped over, before, on 65 minutes, Budleigh got the goal their all-round play deserved.

Alphington had a corner that the Robins back line cleared, and, when the ball fell to Pannell just inside his own half in a central position, he set off and weaved his way through the home ranks before curling a delightful shot into the left hand corner of the net!

With 17 minutes remaining another fine cross from Hitchcock found Pannell six yards out but, with the goal gaping, the Robins’ undoubted Man of the Match put his header over the bar.

That was the final ‘chance’ at either end of the pitch and Budleigh were left, at full time, to reflect on another defeat, but a performance that suggests a change in their fortunes is not far away!

Budleigh are back in action on Saturday (January 19) when they travel to Newton Abbot Spurs.

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