Sidmouth 3rds were to enjoy a very productive weekend in the April sun.

Sidmouth first travelled to Seaton in their penultimate league fixture. In perfect conditions two well matched teams played out a game that was competitive but played in a good spirit throughout. The opening goal always looked likely to be decisive and thankfully the goal went Sidmouth’s way. Jake Sellick playing in an unaccustomed left wing position beat his full back with some nice trickery before laying the ball inside to Joe Gosse who hit a screamer from outside the box into the top far corner.

Some heroics from the Seaton keeper prevented Sidmouth adding to their lead until the introduction of Luke Spiller who has only recently turned 16. First off Luke released Connor Murphy whose thundering run down the right was followed by a low cross which was met at the near post by Joe Gosse who poked the ball past the Seaton keeper. For those of a certain age it seemed very reminiscent of Gary Lineker playing for England against Poland in the 1986 World Cup!

Then with virtually the final move of the game a beautifully placed cross from Luke Spiller on the right hand side was met by a glancing header from Joe Gosse. For Joe Gosse that represented his 3rd hat trick in 2 games- not a bad goal scoring sequence!

The ultimate score line was harsh on Seaton who could easily have got something from the game with a little more composure in front of goal. And they will certainly fancy their chances for revenge in the reverse fixture at Sidmouth on 22 April.

Then on Sunday Sidmouth progressed to the next round of the Golesworthy Cup with a 2-1 victory at Manstone over Bravehearts from Cullompton. The victory was sweet revenge for Sidmouth who had been knocked out of the Geary Cup by the same opponents earlier in the season. In a scrappy and bad tempered game Sidmouth were good value for their win. Goals from Joe Miller and Ollie Turton plus a stunning save from Jack Burgess being the particular highlights.

This Friday Sidmouth 3rds will play in a tribute game to their late team mate, 19 year old Sam Marriott. Sam’s age group team will be re-forming to provide the opposition.

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Woodbury 1 – Sidmouth Town 3rds 11

Macron D&E League Division 7 Saturday 18th March 2017

Sidmouth 3rd’s travelled to Woodbury needing a confidence boosting result after a series of disappointments. There had been some doubt as to whether Woodbury’s pitch would be playable after the overnight rain but in the end the rain merely deprived the Woodbury ground staff of the chance to prepare a manicured surface. So Sidmouth were greeted by a pitch which was not really conducive to their normal passing game and with Sidmouth needing to adapt their style to a somewhat lumpy pitch.

Sidmouth opted to play down the slope in the first half but they started slowly and there was little to choose between the teams in the early exchanges, after Sidmouth adapted to the conditions things soon became much more comfortable, firstly a teasing ball from Joe Gosse on the right hand edge of the area crept into the top corner with only a little help from a Woodbury head, then a low free kick from Connor Murphy was whipped round the edge of the Woodbury wall and into the Woodbury goal despite the unorthodox efforts of the Woodbury keeper. After a Sidmouth corner Joe Gosse spun in the box to fire a third a glancing header from Jake Sellick soon followed. Joe Gosse then got a first half hat trick after reacting fastest in a goalmouth scramble, even defensive kingpin and captain Ben Squance was getting in on the act firing home after a Sidmouth corner

So by half time Sidmouth had gone from level pegging to a 6 goal lead in next to no time.

The half time talk focussed on the need to avoid complacency after Woodbury had staged a stirring comeback in the reverse fixture. But there was to be no such turnaround this time. A wonderful cross from Reuben Raffell gave Joe Gosse the easiest of chances. Joe’s brother than added an eighth after getting on the end of a floated cross from Connor Murphy. Ollie Turton then broke the Gosse monopoly with a fine finish before a couple more from Joe Gosse completed the scoring.

After extensive debate it was felt that hat tricks in each half from Joe Gosse probably justified the man of the match award. But a resounding victory overall leaves Sidmouth in good heart as they play the final games of the 2016/17 season. Credit should go to Woodbury who continued to battle and play in good spirit despite an ever more challenging score line.

HT Dons 1 – Sidmouth Town 6

Macron D&E League Division 7 Saturday 28th January 2017

Sidmouth 3rds headed to Starcross with expectations of a dominant display after the previous Saturday’s strong showing. Sidmouth had won 5 of their last 6 games and HT Dons had only won once all season. But as the game commenced it was clear that HT Dons were fired up and were determined not to be cannon fodder. So for the first 30 minutes Sidmouth seemed very much on the back foot they looked lethargic and their lack of communication made them appear unusually vulnerable at the back.

HT Dons track record suggested that the first goal would be of key importance and thankfully it went Sidmouth’s way. Ollie Turton made a darting run at the HT Dons defence. Although Ollie rode a series of tackles his progress was blocked by the last defender. But as the ball span off the defender’s leg it fell to Richard Johnson who volleyed it spectacularly past the HT Dons keeper.

Quickly thereafter Johnson turned provider as he laid the ball into the path of the overlapping Joe Gosse who thundered his shot low across the HK Dons keeper and into the left hand corner of the net.

A 2 nil half time lead did not call for a Fergie style “hairdryer” but the Sidmouth management pressed Sidmouth to turn up the energy. Despite this Sidmouth again started the half slowly and had to weather early pressure from HT Dons. But then good play down the right hand side ended with a beautifully judged cross from Joe Gosse which was duly rewarded with a well-placed header from Ollie Turton.

Richard Johnson then added another before a brace of goals from Ben Miller completed Sidmouth’s scoring. The first was the pick of Ben’s goals with an inch perfect cross from Matty Skelding being met with an equally perfect glancing header which left the keeper with no chance.

Sidmouth then conceded a soft late penalty but the consolation goal was no less than HT Dons deserved for their effort on the day.

The game then ended on an unpleasant note with a series of particularly unsavoury fouls leading to a pair of red cards. To add a note of farce to proceedings the infamous HT Dons right back was heard to justify his horror tackle on the basis of the physical abuse he had suffered all game at the hands of the fearsome Ben Miller- all 9 stones of him-wringing wet! But since Ben now answers to the nickname of “bone cruncher” and escaped unscathed all’s well that ends well.

The man of the match award went to Connor Murphy who was at the heart of many of Sidmouth’s best moves on the day.

Next Saturday sees Sidmouth away to Exmouth in what is likely to be an even more challenging excursion.

Sidmouth Town 3rds 5 – Cheriton Fitzpaine 1

Macron D&E League Division 7 Saturday 21st January 2017

In the corresponding fixture earlier in the season Sidmouth and Cheriton had seemed very well matched with nothing to choose between the 2 teams for the first 40 minutes. With that in mind the Sidmouth management had asked for an energetic and focussed start. Sidmouth were to deliver such a start in the most emphatic fashion.

With barely 20 seconds on the clock the ball came back to Sidmouth’s sweeper, Al Forsyth, who hit a long ball with the outside of his boot into the right hand channel. Richard Johnson collected the ball and fired it emphatically past the despairing Cheriton keeper to give Sidmouth the quickest of leads.

Having established an early platform it was important that Sidmouth retained that early lead. That they did so was down to a truly stunning save from Adam Bartlett in the Sidmouth goal. When the Cheriton right winger found himself free on the edge of the penalty box he struck a fierce drive that seemed certain to hit the far corner of the net. But at full stretch Adam was able to turn the ball past the post and to safety.

Shortly thereafter Reuben Raffell hit a long ball down the left touchline to Fez Bodor who outpaced the Cheriton full back before cutting inside. He then spun past the defender before coolly slotting the ball past the Cheriton keeper.

By this stage Sidmouth were truly rampant. They were dominating possession in midfield and fizzing the ball around at pace with some lovely one touch football. A scrappy goal from Reuben Raffell quickly followed. And a series of good chances were spurned before a well-judged cross from Connor Murphy was met by a powerful header from Jake Sellick who rose majestically above the Cheriton defence.

After one of the most impressive 45 minutes football this season there was not much to say at half time. The second half began in very similar vein with a couple of early chances going begging before Sidmouth were to extend their lead. Richard Johnson hit a long cross from the left hand side which was beautifully laid off by Ben Miller into the path of Reuben Raffell who swept a powerful volley into the left hand corner of the net.

Sidmouth were unable to add to their lead and Cheriton kept battling to the end. Cheriton were to grab a late consolation goal which did not seriously take the shine off a fine Sidmouth performance.

2 goals and an assist were not enough to give Reuben Raffell the man of the match award which went instead to Jake Sellick. Jake’s speed and endless energy in the middle of the park was the real foundation of this impressive victory.

Next week Sidmouth are off to Dawlish with their management hoping for more of the same.

Sidmouth Town 3rds 5 – Bickleigh 2nds 3

Macron D&E League Division 7 Saturday 17th December 2016

Sidmouth 3rds passed a searching test of their promotion credentials with possibly their most impressive performance of the season to date. Sidmouth had lost 6 of their young regulars whose success in the season to date had seen them earn well deserved promotion to Sidmouth’s 2nd team. That meant that Sidmouth’s 3rds had to field a greatly changed line up against a Bickleigh team fielding many players from their 1st 11 who usually play some 6 leagues higher than Sidmouth’s 3rds. 

The size of the challenge soon become evident with Bickleigh racing to a 2 goal lead. But despite the early deficit Sidmouth kept playing their neat passing football and were looking especially dangerous down each flank. 

Bickleigh were to concede a free kick towards the right touch line. In what was to be a game changing moment Connor Murphy whipped a beautifully placed free kick into the penalty box. Jonny Dunn then rose to head the ball powerfully past the Bickleigh keeper. 

Although trailing 2-1 at half time Sidmouth’s first half performance gave them every reason to be confident and in the second half Sidmouth were simply imperious. First of all Ben Squance scored his first goal for Sidmouth with a classy close range finish. Reuben Raffell then edged Sidmouth in front with a thunderous shot followed by a less than thunderous celebration! Jimmy Pearse added another before Jonny Dunn capped his man of the match performance by rounding the Bickleigh keeper and slotting into an empty goal. 

Although Bickleigh scored a late consolation nothing should detract from an impressively mature all round performance from Sidmouth which will give them particular satisfaction through the long mid- season break. 

K&M Polonia 1 – Sidmouth 3rds 2

Macron D&E League Division 7 Saturday 26th November 2016

This was an opportunity for 4th placed Sidmouth to close in on the top 3 in the league and move themselves clear from the rest of the chasing pack. With five players called up to the second team the side took on a slightly unusual look with a call out to the talented Nick Gingell and sub Jon Miller who played his last competitive match before the majority of the team were born!

The team knew Polonia were going to be a tough challenge. The reverse fixture 6 weeks ago had been an ugly battle with cards regularly shown to the opponents, including a straight red for violent conduct. So the warning from the experienced players was to focus on the football and not be intimidated.

The first half was of average quality. Both sides created chances through physical play rather than through guile with the tireless Jimmy Pearse and Jake Sellick breaking up attacks from midfield. It was Sidmouth who were to take a goals advantage into half time through the endeavour of Joe Gosse, chasing down a lost cause and finishing precisely when the opportunity arose.

The team were in agreement at half time that they could offer more. The scruffy, competitive nature of the game continued until Rich Johnson cleverly lobbed the keeper from 40 yards to put Sidmouth two up. With a change to a more defensive formation, Sidmouth invited pressure and succumbed with ten minutes to go 2-1. But the team showed strong character and battled to see through the victory.

Credit to the Town defensive trio with Jack Gibson as calm and assured as ever, the returning Nick Gingell faultless and man of the match Ben Squance impeccable.

Saturday sees the 3rds taking on table topping Wellington away. Sidmouth have a score to settle having given away a 3.1 lead earlier in the season to allow Wellington a point.

 

 

Sidmouth Town 3rds 7 – Woodbury 2nds 3

Macron D&E League Division 7 Saturday 19th November 2016

On Saturday Sidmouth 3rds entertained Woodbury, a side just beneath them in the league. Untypically Sidmouth were quick out of blocks, the start of the most majestic half of football demonstrated by the predominantly young side. Playing with width and depth and benefiting from the resulting space and time, the home side tore apart their opposition scoring 5 without return by half time. The creative Connor Murphy, Rich Johnson and Ben Miller created chance after chance with Ollie Turton and Johnson himself scoring twice and Murphy scoring from a 40 yard set piece. The 3rds even had the luxury of a penalty miss after Miller was up-ended with the effervescent Jack Gibson becoming the fifth Sidmouth player in a row to miss from the spot.

Despite a unanimous warning from the older players at half time, complacency kicked into the second half, tempo, energy and intensity lost. Woodbury scored once, twice then thrice and flopped a good opportunity to make it 5.4 with 5 minutes to go. Thankfully the energetic Jimmy Pearse then calmed nerves and secured the victory with a cool finish before Joe Gosse scored the goal of the game with a ‘wow’ goal, drilling the ball into the net from an impossible angle.

Great credit to a Woodbury side whose spirit got themselves back into a fairly fought game but the exemplary first half was enough to earn Sidmouth all three points. Sidmouth up to fourth and able to widen the gap next week against fifth placed Polonia