Fresha D&E League Div 8 Saturday 28th November 2015
Sidmouth 3rds returned to league action after their heroics the previous Saturday when they travelled to League 6’s Stoke Hill and knocked them out of the 3rd round of the Devon Intermediate Cup.
Sidmouth’s success in both of the local cup competitions meant that they were beginning to lose ground on the leaders in their league and on the face of it Chagford at home would represent a relatively straightforward 3 points. That sense of optimism was heightened by the fact that (unlike for the trip to Stoke Hill) Sidmouth were able to field close to a full strength squad. But on a bumpy pitch and in gusty wind Sidmouth struggled to find their normal passing rhythm against a team whose own passing & movement belied their relatively lowly league position. Sidmouth nevertheless fashioned a series of good openings with last year’s top scorer, Blake Blackwood, being denied by a number of excellent saves by the Chagford keeper. Then rather against the run of play a moment of indecision in the Sidmouth defence allowed Chagford to take the lead with a shot struck powerfully past the despairing dive of Adam Bartlett in the Sidmouth goal. When Brett Lines shot cannoned off the Chagford bar it really did look like Sidmouth were going to struggle to get back in to a game despite the number of goal scoring opportunities that they were creating.
At half time Sidmouth’s manager Ian Peacock urged Sidmouth to up their work rate for the start of the 2nd half & Sidmouth duly obliged. 2 early goals took Sidmouth into the lead. The first was a smartly taken effort from team captain, Carl Baldwin, and that was followed by a thunderous drive from Richard Johnson. What Sidmouth desperately needed was a 3rd goal to give them breathing space. Sadly that 3rd goal would not come. One of the 3rds guiding principles is the need to give all the substitutes a good run out but on this occasion that approach seemed to lead to a loss of momentum for Sidmouth. So instead of extending their lead Chagford began to press for an equaliser. Indeed had it not been for a couple of outstanding saves from man of the match Adam Bartlett that equaliser would have surely arrived. With Sidmouth playing the final few minutes with just 10 men after an injury to James Hiscox Sidmouth were especially pleased to see out the game and secure the 3 points.
This weekend the 3rds host Newton St Cyres in the 4th round of the Devon Intermediate Cup. Kicking off at Sidford at 2 pm.