Brace of home wins takes Exmouth Town into top three berth.
PUBLISHED: 19:02 28 September 2011
Two wins in the space of four days against sides that were second and third in the league have seen Exmouth Town raise the bar on their performances and set the standard for the season, writes John Dibsdall.
First, in a midweek game, they overcame a resolute Okehampton side 4-1 and inflicted on them their first league defeat of the season.
Whilst Okehampton had lost a Throgmorton Cup tie four days before, they had rested four key players specifically for the game at Southern Road.
Town made their now customary bright start and were ahead after twelve minutes when Mark Simic saw his initial shot saved but was able to force home the rebound. As Town continued to press forward Kyle Bassett had an effort cleared off the line but it was not until the third minute of the second half that Town increased their lead. Central defender Josh Kirby had his shot cleared on the goal line but Dave O’Connor reacted quickest to score. Any thoughts that Town would coast to victory were dispelled five minutes later when the visitors converted a penalty and began to assert their authority. They hit the post but Town were able to weather the storm and gradually took control of the match. Kirby had one header brilliantly saved and it was no surprise when Bassett set up O’Connor for a well taken third and then O’Connor returned the compliment for Bassett to drive home the fourth.
On Saturday Stoke Gabriel were the visitors and Town almost made the perfect start when Kerry Butler saw his twenty five yard drive rebound off the post. As Town continued to dominate Bassett robbed the keeper trying to clear but delayed his shot allowing a defender to clear off the line. Town were not to be denied and Wayne Baker smashed home from twenty yards with only fifteen minutes gone. Stoke Gabriel equalised on thirty minutes following a goalmouth scramble but the half ended with Town on top and unlucky not to regain the lead when James Turner saw his volley hit the crossbar.
Town did take the lead two minutes into the second half. Jamie Moore charged down an attempted clearance and Bassett’s through ball enabled O’Connor to round the keeper and score. This seemed to galvanise the visitors into action and they began to show why they remain one of the leading sides in the division. Sandy Allen made two fine saves and Butler was in the right place to head off the line. As Town were forced even more on the back foot their efforts on the previous Wednesday began to show but to their credit they did not wilt under sustained pressure and were able to hold on for a very creditable victory. Whilst everyone played their part special mention should be made of Tom Taylor whose assured and commanding performance at full back belied his tender years in what was only his second start for Town.
Town’s Tom Taylor has been selected on ‘standby’ for the Devon County FA Under-18 side for their meeting with Cornwall on October 1 and the FA County Youth Cup tie at Surrey on Saturday, October 8.