Bowring stars as Couch free-kick nets Hippos a home point

Honiton at home to Ilfracombe. Ref mhsp 02 19TI 7910. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton at home to Ilfracombe. Ref mhsp 02 19TI 7910. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton Town banked a point from their South West Peninsula League, Eastern Division home game with Alphington.

Honiton at home to Ilfracombe. Ref mhsp 02 19TI 7919. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton at home to Ilfracombe. Ref mhsp 02 19TI 7919. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Alphas, who arrived at Mountbatten Park looking to exact revenge for an early season Town win in Exeter, made a good confident start.

They took the lead and may well have added to it had it not been for some excellent goalkeeping by the Hippos’ impressive number one, Alex Bowring.

It was not until late in the second half that Town levelled things up. The goal was a sweetly struck free-kick from Lewis Couch. The Town Man of the Match award sponsor, Joe Gamblin of Chippy Joe’s, not surprisingly opted for the honour to be bestowed upon Hippos’ glovesman Bowring and he also picked out the experienced Mark Saunders as being the ‘stand-out’ player for the visitors.

Town boss Kev Blackwell, never one to shy away from ‘saying it as it is’, said: “Although the Alphas’ goal was scored on the break, they deserved to be ahead and Alex [Bowring] really kept us in it before our late, albeit deserved, equaliser.”

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The Town boss then turned his attention to the result that the club’s second team had pulled off whilst his team were drawing with Alphington.

He said: “I am so pleased for Andrew [Pike] and his players to have finally got that elusive first win [the Town second team won 1-0 at Halwill]. Unless you knew what he [Pike] has been through in football terms over the last few months then you’d not be able to fully appreciate just what that 1-0 win means. Along with the third team manager, things have been pretty tough, with players departing and availability being less than what we would like. However, in the face of extreme adversity, Andrew has always offered support and enthusiasm and he has what can only be described as a ‘first class’ attitude to all things football. A number of players have left the club recently – at a time when we needed them to dig in and show some fight – which is more than unfortunate.

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“We also seem to have the unacceptable situation where players in the club’s third team are ‘refusing’ to play in the second team while some other club players, who could probably do with game time, have been more satisfied to warm the bench! On top of that, lads simply not turning up has also been an issue for the second team. So, that win, thanks to a Conor Flanagan goal is frankly, very just reward for Andy for his hard work and support to me.”

The Town boss concluded saying: “Right now, it’s a fact that myself, second team boss Andy and third team manager Daz [Pike] are in contact dozens of times during the week ensuring that the players are in place to get the three sides out. This is now virtually impossible given the current circumstances and, with regret, it will be the players that will pay the heaviest price.”

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