New signing Alphie Mahon impresses in Exmouth Town draw with Saltash United

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK - Credit: Archant

Exmouth Town continued their pre-season with a home friendly against old South West Peninsula rivals Saltash United, writes John Dibsdall.

With the easing of restrictions allowing a gradual return of spectators the game was watched by around 100 with full track and trace procedures in operation as well as ensuring social distancing.

Prior to the cessation of the 2019/20 season the visitors were well placed in their league and were one of the favourites to achieve promotion to the Toolstation Western League Premier Division for this coming season.

With the news filtering through that James Richards was taking a break from football the Town faithful had an opportunity for a first look at his likely replacement, Alfie Mahon.

The University of Exeter student did not disappoint and with over 20 appearances last season in the Wessex Premier Division with Team Solent is a welcome addition to the squad.

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Tom Gardner, Max Gillard and Jamie Dirrane were all absent allowing Ben Cullen to partner David Rowe at the heart of the defence.

Cullen gave another assured performance and, like Mahon, will be challenging for a place in the starting line-up when the real action gets underway.

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The contest with Saltash was, as one would expect, hard fought with both defences generally on top.

Whilst Town shaded possession in the first half neither side was able to mount any sustained attack and with both goalkeepers largely untroubled the sides went into the break goalless.

The second half saw more goalmouth action with Ben Steer having the first clear cut chance on 55 minutes, but was denied by a good save.

Ace High had a powerful shot flash narrowly wide and Scott Stevenson was denied by the goalkeeper’s legs with ten minutes remaining.

Once again, all six substitutes were given game time and Tim Bradshaw with a shot destined for the top corner almost won the game for Town, but his effort was well held.

With the ever-dependable Chris Wright foiling all attempts on his goal the game ended goalless, but both sides would have benefitted from a solid and competitive workout.

Town are back in action on Tuesday night (August 25) when they entertain Elmore.

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