Axminster Town begin new league term with Friday night win over Sidmouth Town

Tony Pinder in action for Axminster Town during the pre-season friendly against Bridport at Tiger Wa

Tony Pinder in action for Axminster Town during the pre-season friendly against Bridport at Tiger Way. Picture STEVEN WAKELEY PHOTOGRAPHY. - Credit: Archant

Axminster Town made a winning start to the new South West Peninsula League Eastern Division season with a 1-0 Tiger Way win over Sidmouth Town.

What made the success all the more impressive was that they played for all but 20 minutes of the match with 10 players after Darren Hutching received an early straight red for his reaction to a challenge from Danny Clay that saw the Sidmouth midfielder pick up a yellow card.

A near 200 crowd at Tiger Way saw the only goal of the game arrive not long after the sending off with Tony Pinder thumping the ball home after it dropped to him in the area.

After the break the visiting side had a real go at getting back into the match, but their direct approach with plenty of long-balls into the home area proved to be nothing that the Town back four –and the exceptional Jamie Newbury, who last season skippered Sidmouth Town, could not deal with.

Tigers’ joint manager Josh Stunell said: “On reflection, had we planned an opening game performance in every minor detail to be the ideal first outing, then I would have to say you’d have planned it to have gone exactly as our overall performance panned out across the 90 minutes.”

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He continued: “We were organised and disciplined at the back, worked hard in the midfield area and carried a constant threat with pace and precision in the final third. Johnny [joint boss, albeit as a player-boss, with Stunell] said post match that he has not seen a Town side defend as well as that and we both agreed that, as a team, we could not have asked for more. It really was a complete performance and the most pleasing thing about such a show is that we can now remind the players in coming games that they have set the standard with this first outing. A standard that we expect them to deliver on a consistent basis and, if they do that, then we will enjoy a good season.”

Next up for the Tigers is a Saturday trip to Torridgeside. Stunell says: “Going up there is never easy. They [Torridgeside] are a powerful side at home and so we are going to need to look for something very similar to what we served up against Sidmouth if we are to start our way campaign with a positive result.”

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