Carlsberg SWPL Div 1 East Monday 29th April
The Vikings travelled to Topsham to play a student side that has been in good form of late. With a number of changes forced upon the visitors it took time for the team to gel. The students played some attractive football and forced the early play. Town slowly began to get a grip on the game and made a couple of useful openings,just failing to apply the final touch twice. On 22minutes the Uni striker found the net with a header that eluded Jamie Harvey to give the hosts a deserved lead. The Vikings defence held strong and managed to keep the scoreline unchanged at half time.
After the interval Town had a steely resolve about them. Confidence was flowing and neat two touch passing was being played. Midway through the half a free kick by Andrew Thompson was handled by the right back and from the resultant penalty Thompson drilled in the equaliser. Now it was game on, Uni had a lot of possession but couldn’t penetrate and Town played sensibly to close the game out.
Paddy writes. Uni play good football on a massive pitch. We had a gameplan & stuck to it. Chances were few & far between at both ends. Our defence of Jordan Stickland,Mike Stamp,Nick Gingell & in particular Darren Thomas were very organised and tough to break down. Thommo was also superb but really it was a great team effort that saw us bring home a point. Well done lads
Sat sees the Vikings final away trip to Appledore 3pm k.o.
Carlsberg SWPL Div 1 East Saturday 26th April
The question being asked was when was the last time Sidmouth did the double over their local rivals? On a blustery day Town returned with all three points putting in a gritty determined performance. Player commitment isn’t what it used to be but try telling that to Anthony Griffiths, Alex Raistrick and Jake Boyland who for different reasons all put the teams needs first. Playing against the wind in the first half it was difficult to play our normal passing game. Budleigh never gave Robbie Powell too many problems in the visitors goal. Andy Isaac had the best chance of the half but couldn’t find the target. Ben Cole and youngster Doug Still were battling away in midfield in one of those horrible games when your first touch is a tackle. Andrew Thompson was pulling the strings with Tony Cox and Boyland working hard to occupy their full backs.
0-0 at half time and Town now would have the wind at their backs.
Budleigh started the second half with more purpose and towns defence had to stand strong. With 30 minutes left on the clock Isaacs received a straight red for verbal’s directed towards the official. A difficult task made much harder now with 10 men the Vikings were in no mood to surrender. Powell’s authority and handling skills bred confidence to his defence with Griffiths ,Raistrick, Darren Thomas and Jordan Stickland all sticking to their task. These days the squad is all important and one player light saw a couple of Viking players tire so it was a couple of the substitutes who combined to grab the winner. Thompsons intelligence brought him time on the ball and Nathan Brace’s fresh legs saw him make a 40 yard run when released by Thompsons pass Brace gathered the ball and played a superbly weighted pass to fellow sub Riki Pitter who rifled in the winner two minutes from time, to bring a celebratory scenes not seen too often this season. A large away support was evident and the team did them proud.
Paddy writes: We had 8 players missing from the previous game so had to draft players in. Griff was due to play cricket and with their game off he made himself available which gave us solidity. Alex played with a hamstring injury but you would never have known. Jason Stiling & Simon Hudson deserve a mention for their input and support, selflessly putting the Vikings first. It was a scrappy game won by a classy goal that made me proud to be in charge of these players. There were some tired bodies in that changing room as everyone gave everything for the cause.
Tuesday 29th sees the Vikings play away to University followed by their final away trip to Appledore next Saturday.
Finally can I wish Rich Johnson & his Sunday side good luck for Thursdays Cup Final at St. James Park.
Carlsberg SWPL Div 1 East Friday 18th April
Town hosted their neighbours on an immaculate Manstone pitch on Good Friday. With both clubs providing plenty of support the teams didn’t disappoint. Town started brightly forcing the visitors back with Andy Isaacs and Jake Boyland prominent. As has been the case so often with Town in control Budleigh opened the scoring with their first attack. The Vikings were visibly shaken but kept their heads up and worked themselves back into the game. Andrew Thompson went close and Alex Raistrick forced a save as Town searched for an equaliser. On 38 minutes Boyland struck to bring parity and this was the least the hosts deserved.
The second half saw an even contest with Jack Burgess making a great save and his opposite number keeping a Greg Chaplin header out. Big games usually get decided by big players and it was local lad Thompson who rifled in a 25 yarder giving the keeper no chance. With 20 minutes to play this was enthralling as the two sides were totally committed but Towns defence of Farringdon, Tarr, Griffiths and Thomas stood firm and provided a platform from which Town could see the game out.
With five minutes left Raistrick put the contest beyond doubt with another superb effort capping off a great day for the club.
Paddy comments. A massive result for the club I’m overjoyed because a lot of people work so hard to prepare each game and I feel we have let them down on the pitch. Today we saw a dominant performance, hunger and desire that hasn’t always been evident. A big crowd were entertained as both sides tried to play football, the visitors are a decent side with youth and pace and we faced it and dealt with their threat.
Next Saturday sees the reverse fixture with a 3pm ko as I’m certain Budleigh will want to gain revenge, come and support the Vikings.
Carlsberg SWPL Div 1 East Saturday 12th April
The Vikings travelled to South Devon with a severely depleted squad to face the favourites for this years title. On a bobbly pitch playing a passing game was going to be difficult. Stoke started the brighter of the sides and went ahead on 8 minutes. Town basked to play a different formation took a while to adjust but steadily got themselves into the game. On 15 minutes Andy Isaac pounced on an error to equalise, cleverly lobbing the home keeper. Clearly rattled Stoke were reduced to 10 men on 40 minutes as Town were matching them all the way. The second half was full of incident as firstly Aaron Doble struck a low drilled shot past a bemused keeper to give the Vikings the lead. However within 10 minutes Stoke had equalised and to add insult to injury Doble was sent off for an off the ball incident. A further 10 minutes past and Stoke struck their third as desperate defending saw them fortunate to receive the luck of the bounce. The Vikings never gave up and Matt Colson had a 30 yard screamer tipped onto the bar as Town gave it their all. Nathan Brace was foiled in the last minute as a brave Vikings performance brought no reward.
Paddy writes; Losing is difficult to accept at times especially when the squad don’t apply themselves. Today was the total opposite as all 13 players plus “lino” Kev Trivett represented the club in an admirable fashion. We were resolute we kept in the game and deserved a point. Days like today restore my faith in the game and I am so proud of the lads. People look and see we lost again but these players are pushing themselves against some of Devon’s finest when it would be easier to drop down a couple levels and be a big fish in a small pond.
A special mention for Mike Stamp playing at centre half, this guy is a freak of nature, what a performance from a true warrior and an absolute gentleman.
Good Friday sees the Vikings host Budliegh Salterton 11am k.o