Hippos host Budleigh in midweek home derby

PUBLISHED: 08:30 22 August 2018

Ref mhsp 14 17TI 0219. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref mhsp 14 17TI 0219. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton Town are in action tonight at Mountbatten Park when they entertain Budleigh Salterton in a South West Peninsula League Eastern Division derby that kicks-off at 6.45pm.

The Hippos go into the game having lost both their opening league matches, having gone down 3-1 at Ilfracombe Town on Saturday and 1-0 last Wednesday at Elmore.

It’s an early season record matched by Budleigh, who were beaten 5-1 at Stoke Gabriel on Saturday having lost their opening game 1-0 at Crediton United.

Town boss Kev Blackwell says of the evening game against Budleigh: “We are really looking forward to kicking off our home season. After what had been a hard, but ultimately rewarding pre-season, we have begun with two really tough away games and now it’s great to be able to open our new home campaign, particularly with a game as attractive as an East Devon derby against Budleigh Salterton.”

Town will have both Charlie Selley and Lewis Couch in the match-night squad after both missed Saturday’s defeat in North Devon.

That fixture at Ilfracombe – one of the longest journeys of the season – saw Honiton outplayed in a first half that ended with Ilfracombe holding a 2-0 lead, but that could, perhaps should, have been four of five, such was the sluggish all-round show from the Hippos.

Despite an improved second-half showing, Town fell further behind before a late consolation from the penalty spot – the kick awarded after a clumsy challenge on Darren Witt and skipper Ben Ede rifled the ball home.

Town boss Blackwell said: “We paid the price for a sluggish start. I was a tad relieved at the break that we were still ‘in the game’ for had we been four or five down, we’d not have grounds for much complaint!”

He continued: “However, we improved significantly in the second half, much of that coming from a very positive output from across the team. Alas, it was not enough to turn the game in our favour as Ilfracombe scored a third, again displaying clinical finishing. I had hoped us getting one back would set up a strong finish, but, in truth, that was not forthcoming.”

With regard to his team’s commitment, Blackwell said: “It is difficult to criticise the team. The lads showed their commitment and desire. Ultimately the buck stops with me - I take full responsibility for the results.

“The team, I feel, did play within themselves, and several of the lads can up things by around 25 per cent.

“Confidence seems low and as soon as the lads start playing with a belief and trust in each other the results will come.

“Our season certainly won’t be defined by two defeats at two of the teams who will both be in the shake-up when the title is decided.”

Last Wednesday night Town went down 1-0 at much-fancied Elmore and testimony to just how good an all-round shift the Hippos put in at Horsdon Park is the fact that Elmore, in their four other games this season, have won the Throgmorton Champions Cup and scored 17 times!

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