Axmouth United make a very good point at Exmouth Town
AXMOUTH United travelled to one of the Fresha League, Division Six favourites, Exmouth Town, knowing a defeat would likely end any title aspirations.
With only one win and five defeats in their previous six away outings, it was with some trepidation that Laurie Forino took his team to Southern Road.
Despite the recent poor away from United had been boosted by back-to-back home wins in their last two home games.
There was a big blow the day before the trip for Forino when regular glovesman Andrew Smart was taken Ill, and so, just a few days before the veterans 47th birthday, and with no reserve keeper available, the boss donned the gloves with a degree of nervousness!
United started brightly but they failed to make the most of some healthy opening opportunities and the hosts took a foot-hold in the game.
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With both sides playing good passing football, it was United who almost struck first with a sweet passing move starting from the right back berth that ended with a fine strike from Glenn Gould coming in off the left flank, but the home keeper made a fine save high to his right to tip round the post.
Back came Exmouth and the visitors stand-in keeper had to rush out to make two saves at the feet of home strikers as they raced through and so see his side to half time all square.
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Exmouth started the quicker after the break and, just five minutes in, a rebound clearance fell at the feet of one of their players some eight yards out to neatly finish and make it 1-0 to the hosts.
For a further five minutes it looked uncomfortable for the visitors as Town pressed hard to make the most of their advantage.
However, Axmouth’s defence looked solid and held firm as the midfield began to dominate and run the game. They grew in confidence and, in the 65th minute, United were deservedly back on level terms.
Charlie Clarke forced the home side’s left back into an ill-judged pass across the box which the keeper failed to meet and Gould rushed in to slot home the equaliser.
Axmouth then took charge and certainly finished the stronger of the two sides, but, despite creating a number of good chances, they were unable to fashion a finish and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
United boss Forino said: “This was a very good match between two good sides played in an excellent spirit. On the balance of play a draw was probably a fair result. Last season we would have crumpled in games like this but we have such belief and spirit this year that we always feel we can get a result. The lads were great
again today but my Man of the Match was Charlie Sweetland who gave a towering performance at centre half.”