Axminster Town celebrate Christmas with a win

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE - Credit: Archant

In a festive period decimated about the wet weather, Axminster Town were one of the few sides to enjoy some Christmas football. 
It turned out to be the perfect present for the Tigers, as they moved out of the bottom two in the South-West Peninsula League East Division with a superb 3-2 victory over Cullompton Rangers. 
Manager Josh Stunell had openly talked about the need to get points on the board and the games over Christmas and the New Year presented the Tigers with a realistic opportunity to begin their climb up the table. 
As it transpired, the lack of competitive football elsewhere possibly worked in Axminster’s favour, as they entered the Boxing Day showdown in front of a healthy home crowd knowing that a win would lift them above Holsworthy and, crucially, within touching distance of Elburton Villa, Plymouth Marjon and Bovey Tracey. 
All the ingredients were in place but the Tigers still had to deliver on the day, and they did so with a performance full of quality and spirit. 
It was perhaps inevitable that Tony Pinder would take the scoring plaudits for Axminster, as he notched twice against his former club and a further strike from Dec Cornish gave the Tigers a fabulous win. 
Axminster start 2021 with a massive game at home to Torrington, who are just eight points above the Tigers in the league and, if Stunell’s men can repeat their Boxing Day display, a win is very much achievable. 
Sadly for Honiton Town, Storm Bella won the battle and their much-anticipated Boxing Day trip to Sidmouth, as well as the Bank Holiday meeting with Axminster, were both postponed.  
The Hippos will now turn their attention to Ilfracombe Town away on January 2, followed by a trip to Brixham and successive home games against Dartmouth and Torpoint.  
Elsewhere in Peninsula football, there was FA Vase heartbreak for Falmouth Town, who saw their impressive adventure in the competition ended by a penalty shoot-out loss to Christchurch from the Wessex League. 
The Cornish outfit had done brilliantly to hold their higher-ranked visitors to a 1-1 draw but the spot-kick lottery went against them on the day. 

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