Shipton at the double as Town launch 2020 with convincing home win over Bitton
PUBLISHED: 10:18 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:19 07 January 2020
Exmouth Town started the New Year in convincing style with a comfortable 2-0 win over Bitton and completed a league double having won 1-0 in North Bristol back in August, writes John Dibsdall.
With leading scorer Jordan Harris serving a one match ban for five cautions received prior to December 31, and Karl Rickard, Max Gillard and Jimmy Hinds unavailable, Town boss Kevin Hill was forced to rotate the squad, but was able to welcome James Richards back to the side for the first time since sustaining an injury in a St Lukes Bowl clash with Cullompton Rangers on September 24.
Both sides made positive starts with the game being played at a good pace and tempo, but neither defence was troubled in the opening exchanges.
The nearest either side came to a goal was when Mark Lever was unable to convert an Aarron Denny cross at the far post.
With Town playing some attractive football and Adam Bilcock orchestrating proceedings from midfield, they began to seize control and, after a couple of half chances, opened the scoring on 37 minutes.
A long cross from Ace High found Callum Shipton wide on the left and, as he cut inside, he unleashed a fine drive that was destined for the top corner, but a deflection took it into the opposite corner to give Town a deserved lead.
Shipton had a chance to double the lead at the start of the second half but 'shined' a shot wide and Bilcock saw his drive hit the outside of the post.
Bitton then enjoyed a spell of possession football without breaking down a solid and resolute Town defence.
Indeed, the only scare that Town had was when a half hit shot took a deflection and with Robbie Powel slipping, the ball, fortunately, went narrowly wide of the post.,
After High had an effort ruled out for offside Town eventually scored their second to seal victory. With 86 minutes on the clock, a long cross from substitute Scott Merritt was met by an exquisite cushioned header from Lever for Shipton to control instantly and steer the ball past a bemused 'keeper.
The win has seen Town climb to third in the table with games in hand over Bradford Town and Plymouth Parkway, both of whom dropped points over the holiday period.
This coming Saturday (January 11) Town are home to Roman Glass St George who are based near Almondsbury, Bristol and then on Tuesday (January 14)travel to Bridgwater who are always a difficult side to beat on their home ground and have already recorded a 2-0 home win over Plymouth Parkway this season.