Exmouth Town latest - reaction to the Tuesday night cup win at Shepton Mallet
PUBLISHED: 12:47 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:17 08 January 2020
Despite making six changes from the side that defeated Bitton in Saturday's Toolstation Western League game at Southern Road, Town marched into the last eight of the Les Phillips Cup with a 2-1 win at Shepton Mallet.
The opening goal came on the half hour when Callum Shipton, who scored both the goals that saw off Bitton, showed good composure to beat his marker and shoot left footed into the bottom corner.
The home side had not lost in league or cup since Town had beaten them 2-1 at Southern Road on the last day of November, and they started the second half on the front foot and levelled with a 55th minute strike.
Town, who had rung the changes to start, then made even more as the pre-match plan had always been to 'share game time' in light of the many matches coming up, sent on two members of the U18 team, Josh Gresham and Jamie Vaughan-Ryall on the hour mark. For young Gresham it was his first experience of senior first team football while Vaughan-Ryall has been involved before.
Seven minutes after the changes Town were back in front and it was with a goal of real quality.
The talismatic Aarron Denny, closed down a defender who, under pressure, played a back pass that the home glovesman attempted to launch forward only for it to reach the foot of Denny who promptly rifled it back - with interest - and into the net!
Thereafter the Town game management was first class and each and everyone of the players involved once again put in a monumental shift for the cause and now Town find themselves in the first month of 2020, halfway through the football season and very much part of a title race and also into the quarter-finals of two cup competitions.
Speaking the morning after the night before, Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings said: "It was another highly competent all-round team display and, once again, the depth of our squad came to the fore with everyone chipping in to play a part on the night."
He continued: "We'd said after Saturday's win over Bitton that it was time for the lads to assess where we are in the campaign. Kev asked the question of the lads just what they wanted out of the season, after all, from where we are right now there could be a certain direction they wanted to proceed in. Well set in the league and, potentially on the verge of being in two cup quarter-finals, it begged the question of asking the lads if they wanted to prioritise anything and, to a player, they said we are going to give our all in all three."
Speaking about the changes the side made for the cup tie, the Town number two said: "There are plenty of games coming up and so we knew the wider squad would have to come into play. The confidence Kev has in the younger players is there for all to see. Testament to that is the fact that on the hour mark, just minutes after being pegged back at 1-1, we still made the changes that we had discussed before the game and the younger players given their chance to make a mark did just that. Both Josh [Gresham] and Jamie [Vaughan-Ryall] did not look out of place against a side who are a tidy team and who look like a side enjoying a good run in the league."
He continued: "They [Shepton Mallet] made it tough for us and the game was every bit as challenging as the league meeting had been at our place."
The Town number two also had high praise for a much changed back line from the Saturday meeting with Bitton. He explained saying: "What was very pleasing on the night was that we had, but for club stalwart 'Rowey' [Dave Rowe], a completely changed back four from the Bitton game. In came Max [Gillard], Scott [Merritt] and Kieran [Willdigg] and the change was seamless. When you make as many changes as that and yet still get to stand back and admire a continuation of the way you always see your back line playing then you know your club is in a very healthy position."
So, the win at Shepton means Town now travel to Bridgwater Town for the last eight tie and that game is chalked in for mid-February. However, before that, Town meet the Somerset home and away in the league with the first of those meetings as soon as next Tuesday (January 14)!
What does the Town assistant manager make of the fact that Town will face the Somerset men three times in the space of five weeks?
He replied saying: "One thing is for sure we will certainly be getting sued to each other over the next few weeks!"
He continued: "On a more serious note, it is what it is and, as a season unfolds, you have to take it all as it comes and the great thing, from out point of view, is that we currently have such a buzz around all things Exmouth Town Football Club that, when we say the next game could not come quick enough - we mean it!"
Last, but certainly not least, the Town number two paid homage to the travelling Town support that was at Shepton Mallet. He said: "A word or three about that fabulous support we had again up there. The Town faithful are truly extraordinary.
"They are with us every inch of the way and to see so many of them up there on a damp Tuesday evening when they have had a three-hour round-trip really does make such a difference - they really are such a big part of what we are trying to achieve at Southern Road and, once again, we are indebted to each and everyone one of them that journeyed up to Somerset and who, no doubt, will be with us again on Saturday when we take on Roman Glass St George at Southern Road."