Robins end losing run with richly deserved point

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9027. Picture: Terry Ife

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9027. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Budleigh Salterton recorded the ‘result of the day’ across the South West Peninsula League when they held high-flying Torridgeside to a 3-3 draw at Greenway Lane, writes Alan Beer.

After 11 straight defeats in the Eastern Division campaign, the Robins banked a richly deserved point thanks to goals from Johnny Hitchcock, Liam Dickinson and George Pannell.

In a game that flowed from end to end, Budleigh led twice and then fell behind before scoring an 81st leveller – and they could have been forgiven for feeling disappointed at full-time that they had not got all three points, such was the collective contribution the team made on the afternoon.

Budleigh started the game with a good tempo about their play and it was no more than they deserved when, after some neat passing, the ball was worked out to the left where Harry Gibbings took it on before crossing to the edge of the 18-yard area where it was met by a ‘bullet’ header from Johnny Hitchcock that arrowed its way into the net. However, just two minutes later, an error in defence gifted a chance that Brian Levine took with relish to level the scores up.

Despite being pegged back so quickly, Budleigh continued to play on the front foot and they regained the lead in the 30th minute when another left wing raid ended with the ball being crossed deep to the far post where Liam Dickinson’s splendid first touch gave him time and space to then drill the ball home.

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This time it took Torridgeside nine minutes to restore parity – a through-ball split the Budleigh defence. Seven minutes into the second half Budleigh fell behind for the first time when a shot was deflected past a helpless Alan Doble. Given that the Robins went into this game having lost their previous 11, home supporters may have thought ‘here we go again’. However, the home team, who had matched the high-flying visitors blow for blow during the game, deservedly levelled in the 81st minute through a header from George Pannell.

Indeed, but for a fine late save by the Torridgeside goalkeeper, the Robins would have been celebrating a cherished win at full-time.

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In what was a terrific all-round show, Ross James served up the stand-out shift from his berth on the left of midfield.

There’s no game for Budleigh this Saturday. They are next in action on February 9 when they entertain Crediton United.

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