Exmouth Town face biggest challenge to date to their 2019 unbeaten home record
PUBLISHED: 11:06 18 December 2019
Exmouth Town face the biggest challenge to their unbeaten home League record in 2019 when Plymouth Parkway return to Southern Road on Saturday (December 21), looking to avenge their 4-1 League Cup defeat by Town lest than three weeks ago, writes John Dibsdall.
Since Town were beaten by a solitary goal in added time by Cullompton Rangers on Boxing Day 2018 they have played 13 home league games winning 11 and drawing two, St Austell last season and Hallen a couple of weeks ago.
They have also contested nine cup ties losing just one, last season's St Lukes Bowl semi-final when they went down 2-1 to an experienced Exeter City side.
Parkway are currently second in the table with a game in hand on Bradford Town at the top and are still most people's favourites to win the league this season.
Town's 3-1 victory last Saturday at Bridport has seen them climb to fourth in the table with games in hand on all the sides around them. Parkway have seen their two most recent league fixtures postponed so two of the players who received red cards in the recent cup game will be ineligible to play although Town can expect to play against a very strong side such is the strength in depth of their opponents.
To achieve a result on Saturday, Town will have to play at their very best and certainly improve considerably on their second half performance against Bridport.
Town went into the break three goals to the good and in complete control, but apart from the opening five minutes of the second half when they could have increased their lead, were very much second best.
Town had led after 18 minutes when Ben Steer tricked his way to the bye line and pulled the ball back for Jordan Harris to rifle past a stranded 'keeper.
A faint touch from a Steve Avery cross by Mark Lever saw the ball nestle in the far corner after 36 minutes and Harris doubled his tally with a neat turn and shot on the stroke of half-time.
After heavy overnight rain the pitch whilst perfectly playable was 'dead' and throughout the second half Town found it difficult to play their normal game and were guilty of 'passing' too many balls to the opposition.
As Bridport's confidence grew Town were forced to defend and stood up to the task until Jamie Dirrane was adjudged to have held an attacker and a penalty was awarded. Cue Robbie Powell to make an exceptional double save to preserve the lead, but he was powerless when the pressure finally told and Bridport pulled a goal back with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Despite the referee finding five minutes of added time Town held on to record another important victory.
Town are also home on Boxing Day (Thursday, December 26) when Buckland Athletic are the visitors and the Southern Road kick-off is at 1pm.