SWPL 31st January & 7th February 2015
Last Minute Sercombe Goal Earns Spurs a Point
Match report by Newton Abbot Spurs
Newton Abbot Spurs defied the odds to earn an excellent point against a high flying Exeter University side at a sunny but cold Topsham Road ground. Spurs were without nine first team players for the game against a side unbeaten in the league since August 25th. With all the absences, player manager Adam Dyson had to deploy himself in an unfamiliar midfield role. Jamie Williamson made his full debut for the visitors at the back, while Carl Bradley returned from injury, although still not 100%, following illness.
As expected, Spurs started the game on the back foot and, for the majority of the 90 minutes, the home side had the better spells of possession. The home side’s first chance came in just the second minute; Myles Blenkinsopp’s deep cross was met by the oncoming Josh Higgins who could only direct a header over Niall Herbert’s bar from ten yards out. It didn’t take the home side long to take the lead: just four minutes had elapsed when Ben Mogg scored for the in-form hosts. Joe Long missed a short corner at the near post and Mogg was on hand to poke the ball home from close range as Spurs’ attempts to clear were in vain. The visitors had their best spell of the first half within the first 15 minutes with three efforts in the space of three minutes giving the Students a reminder that they were by no means out of the game. Tom Sercombe’s overhead kick went wide of Chris Brigg’s post on 12 minutes before the same player was thwarted well by Brigg just a minute later, the home custodian saving well low down from Sercombe’s header. Dyson almost brought his side level on 14 minutes but he could only direct an effort wide, albeit stretching while executing his shot. The rest of the half continued to be dominated by the hosts but they found Spurs’ back line difficult to break down with Herbert rarely called into action. Spurs’ efforts were rewarded five minutes before the break with a goal out of the top drawer from Shaun Bowden. Spurs’ energetic midfielder picked the ball up 35 yards from goal and advanced to send an excellent strike past Brigg via the underside of the bar. Spurs thought they had taken the lead on 44 minutes but Jake Elms’ header was adjudged not to have crossed the line following Bowden’s cross.
The hosts were quickly into their stride in the second half and once again it took them just four minutes into the half to regain their lead. Higgins cut in from the right hand side unchallenged and his lay-off was swept home by Blenkinsopp. Five minutes later, Herbert saved well from Mogg’s close range effort before the rebound was cleared off the line by Long. At this point, it seemed to be a case of how many the home side would score. The University side almost put the game beyond doubt on 58 minutes but Alex Parsons was thwarted by Herbert when one-on-one following a lung-busting run from the halfway line. Parsons’ team mates will undoubtedly question why the striker didn’t pass to either of the two players who were better placed. Bradley missed a glorious chance to equalise on 72 minutes but could only sky his effort from close range after beating centre-backs Beadle and Bouvers. Despite being under the cosh for long periods of the game, Spurs would earn a morale boosting point in the 90th minute. Adam Richards, who had been called up from the second team, found Dyson’s run down the line and his pinpoint cross in turn found Sercombe on hand to tap home at the second attempt from very close range. The Students looked to find a breakthrough in the three minutes of injury time but couldn’t find a way past a Spurs back line that refused to fold as easily as they had done in recent games.
Dyson was delighted with his side at the final whistle, seeing a vast improvement from their last game, a 5-1 defeat at Plymstock. For the University, this is no doubt a setback and a result they didn’t expect if manager Dave Evans’ reaction was anything to go by at the final whistle. They will undoubtedly, however, be amongst the leading pack come May.
Spurs have a free weekend next weekend before welcoming Budleigh Salterton to the The Rec on 21st February.
FT: Exeter University 2 – 2 Newton Abbot Spurs
Seven Premier games were played today. The morning’s leaders Ivybridge Town faced Bodmin Town at Erme Valley with the visitors winning 2-0 which sees Bodmin up a place to 3rd and knocks the Ivys off the top. The new leaders are Saltash United who had a 1-0 home win over Callington Town in new manager Phil Bayliss first game in charge of the Kimberley Stadium outfit. Witheridge climbed from 13th to 10th after a 4-2 win over bottom side Bovey Tracey. Stoke Gabriel stay in 14th but had a good 2-0 win away at a Launceston side who have been in good form recently.
Division One East:
On 31st January, the wet and cold weather put paid to seven of the nine East matches but there was action at both Greenway Lane and Minster Park. St Martins came from behind to beat Galmpton United 2-1 at home which lifted them two places to second in the table.
On 7th February, 16 of the 18 East sides were in action with leaders Teignmouth and lowly Exwick Villa the only sides without a game. Galmpton United climbed into second place after a 5-2 win away at Alphington. Totnes & Dartington had a 4-2 home win over Brixham AFC in a South Devon derby. Plymstock United had a 3-2 win away at previously in-form Liverton United.