Hughes a star as Woodbury maintain their promotion push with Axmouth victory

PUBLISHED: 09:15 02 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:16 02 April 2013

Football

Football

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Woodbury 4, Axmouth United 0

Alex Hughes served up a master-class midfield show as the Woods strengthened their grip on a Division Four promotion berth.

Woodbury made the perfect start! Inside the first minute Kev Pitt, making his first start in a month, headed the ball to release Andy Bennett who was then hauled down in the box and Hughes sent the visiting keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Within three minutes the lead was doubled as a Hughes corner was nodded back across goal by Andy Bennett for Paul Rowsell to head home.

The visitors responded well and Woods keeper Wayne Rowsell made a superb save to deny them a goal back.

Bennett went close at the other end from another corner before, as play swung from end-to-end, Rowsell tipped a looping shot over the bar.

With Declan Bourne and Ryan Smith industrious on either flank and the Paul Rowsell and Hughes link-up a constant thorn in the Axmouth side, Woods saw the game out to the break with their 2-0 lead intact.

In the second half Craig Leaman replaced Kev Pitt and his muscular presence made a difference. Any hopes that Axmouth had of getting back into the contest were extinguished by the well-marshalled Woods back line in which Russell Pengelly and Will Bennett were outstanding and full back Steve Hunt’s persistence down the right flank was causing the visitors no end of problems.

Alfie Cleave, returning to the side after two months away, came on to replace Ryan Smith, the latter departing to a deserved standing ovation for his contribution. Woods continued to boss proceedings, but Axmouth were always a threat and Wayne Rowsell was again in the thick of the action when he tipped a looping shot onto the frame of the goal and out for a corner.

With 15 minutes to play Cleave and Hunt linked up prior to Hunt crossing for Leaman to net the third and kill the game off.

Andy Bennett was replaced, having received an earlier knock on his troublesome right knee.

Richie Ralph was introduced and that allowed Hughes to be pushed further forward.

Leaman and Ralph both went close before, in the final minute, Bourne robbed the ball from a defender and squared to Hughes who executed a perfect lobbed shot up and over the keeper and into the net to complete the scoring.

Woodbury boss Adam Reid said: “That was a great all-round performance. Every single player deserves mention for their individual contribution. For me the Man of the Match award must go to Alex Hughes who gave us a very disciplined shift in central midfield. That said, there were great supporting roles across the park, most notably from Bourne, Will Bennett, Hunt and Pengelly. Wayne Rowsell deserves a mention for a good performance in goal and his kicking was also very good. The only negative from the game is the worrying knee issue for Andy Bennett. I also feel it’s vital we wrap the influential Paul Rowsell in cotton wool as he is going to be a pivotal player in the run-in.”

Woodbury team: Wayne Rowsell, Will Bennett, Russell Pengelly, Steve Hunt, Rhys Perry, Declan Bourne, Ryan Smith (Alfie Cleave 65), Paul Rowsell, Andy Bennett (Richie Ralph 75), Kev Pitt (Craig Leaman 45), Alex Hughes.

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