East Budleigh have real grounds for optimism heading into 2019

PUBLISHED: 13:21 31 December 2018

Archant

East Budleigh Football Club have good reason to be optimistic as they go into the second half of the season, writes Mark Auton.

The first team, under the leadership of Matt Jones, currently sit third in the Macron Devon and Exeter League Division Three table and sit just one point off the top having won nine and lost three of their twelve games played.

They have also strengthened the playing squad with the signings of Jack Howarth and Darren Everest, both returning to Vicarage Road after a spell with neighbours Budleigh Salterton.

The team have a terrific first match of 2019 when they entertain Ottery St Mary on Saturday (January 5).

When East Budleigh visited Ottery St Mary back in September, they won 4-3. Ottery also lost their next game, but since then – a midweek 6-2 loss to University – Ottery have won eight successive matches and are heading for East Budleigh seeking to claim a new club record of nine straight wins. However, ‘history’ favours East Budleigh for, back in the 2014/15 season, Ottery St Mary came to East Budleigh for the first game of 2015 looking to bag a ninth straight win and they were halted in their tracks as the Division Six game, against East Budleigh Reserves, ended 1-1!

With Ottery sitting immediately above East Budleigh in the Division Three table, whoever wins this Saturday’s meeting will sit top of the first published table of 2019, as current leaders University do not play again until January 19. This season, the East Budleigh Reserves, with Si Pearce at the helm, are, like the Vicarage Road first team, enjoying a fine season, and they currently sit second in Division Seven. The second team, who have won nine of the 12 games they have played so far, have also made good signings this season and they have added returning players Luke Kelsall and Josh Sale to their squad.

On Saturday, the second team travel into Exeter to meet Village Inn. Both East Budleigh matches, on the first matchday of 2019, start at 2.15pm.

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