Axmouth United nap hand triumph lands promotion berth
Axmouth United ended a glorious season with a final game victory that sealed them promotion into next season’s Fresha League Diviison Five.
Having suffered their worst defeat of the season a 6-1 thumping away to promotion chasing Culm, Axmouth went into their final game of an excellent season facing the real prospect of having been in the top three all year only to finish fourth on the final day if they failed to get a point against visiting Hatherleigh who were chasing second spot themselves.
Axmouth took into the game some confidence from beating their opponents last week in a close game 4-3 but were expecting a tough rematch. In front of the biggest crowd this season all hoping to see the home side prosper Axmouth were in no mood to be denied and clearly were prepared and fired up from the off. Dominating from the start they opened the scoring after just eight minutes when Christian Burridge arrived at the far post to head home from a corner to take a deserved lead.
The visitors appeared taken by surprise at the speed and determination of the home side who continued to create a succession of chances but failed to hit the target with several opportunities being spurned.
Then, against the run of play Hatherleigh equalised from a corner themselves on 22
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minutes and the tension rose as all Axmouth’s superiority had been cancelled out. It could easily have led to nerves playing a part but instead they continued to drive on playing some good football and the excellent Glenn Gould saw two efforts in as many minutes narrowly miss the target and force the keeper into a fine save just before the
interval and so the sides went in all square.
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Axmouth continued where they left off after the break as Gould fired a fierce drive in the 56th minute which the keeper could only parry and Charlie Clarke showed typical strikers instincts to follow up and fire home the rebound. Three minutes later and Gould collected the ball some 35 yards out and seeing the keeper off his line hit a perfect shot which flew into the net to the roars of approval from the celebrating fans seeing a 3-1 lead established.
It was all one way now as Axmouth were in total control and on 75 minutes Tiago
Braga playing his last game before departing to Amsterdam, drifted pass defenders before placing his shot into the corner for a solo effort to mark his final appearance in style. At 4-1 it seemed all over as the crowd eagerly anticipated the end of the game to start the celebrations, Hatherleigh were awarded a penalty on the 80th minute which was calmly converted and some reward for a spirited display which momentarily gave them hope of getting back into the game and another effort soon after could well gave increased that possibility had keeper Andrew Smart not pulled off yet another fine save to deny them a way back. Their was still time for one more strike and the best was saved until last when again Gould picked up a clearance from a Hatherleigh corner halfway inside his own half and held off two challengers before unleashing a drive from the halfway line to again fly over the keeper who having gone forward for the corner was unable to recover to do anything about it.
This was a fantastic performance by the home side recording their 11th home win
of the season to ensure promotion into division five.
An overjoyed United boss, Laurie Forino said: “I simply could not praise my team enough after this final shift of the season. They put in so much and thoroughly deserved both to get the promotion berth and indeed to claim the win in this final game. They have been fantastic all year and were clearly in no mood to be denied in this particular game. Everyone of them were outstanding when it really mattered and I’m incredibly proud of what they have achieved this season following some troubled times. All at Axmouth football club have contributed to our success this year and I thank everyone involved for their time and efforts, it’s been a great year which hopefully we can build on again next season - up the Axe!!”