Honiton record brilliant win at Torridgeside

A moment of calm in Honiton's thrilling win

A moment of calm in Honiton's thrilling win - Credit: Archant

Great return for the Hippos

Honiton Town made the long trip to Great Torrington to record an enthralling 4-3 victory over Torridgeside in the Devon Football League.

With injuries and suspensions, manager Liam Raybould brought George Rodgers and Bradley Riggs into the Hippos side. It was also good to see Lewis Couch return to the bench after his injury. He was joined by Ryan Gibbs and Ben Ede. Luke Ashford was probably the envy of everyone as he was allowed to wear the gloves.

In front of Town’s shot-stopper were Rogers, Joe Dixon, Aaron Doble and Conor Flanagan. Midfield was marshalled by Tom Beddow with Fin Rooke, Tom Perryman and Chris Long giving support to Liam Dingle, who was Town’s sole striker.

It was the travelling fans who had the first thing to cheer about, when Town played a pass through the middle and Chris Long won the race to the ball and even though the tackles were raining in and the onrushing goalie was spreading himself to block the shot, the local lad was able to steer his shot home.


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The travelling Hippo Herd were celebrating again in the 22nd minute when Fin Rooke crossed the ball from the right hand side, and found Liam Dingle, who was well positioned to tap the ball home.

It was almost that Town had surprised themselves to be 2-0 up within 25 minutes. It was not against the run of play, but Town were failing to capitalise on their lead. A passionate home crowd were urging the home team to pull one back, and they did in the 27th minute, when the Hippos failed to clear their lines. The North Devon side capitalised on this error and punished the visitors by pulling a goal back.

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Honiton had a 2-1 advantage going into the second half but this was wiped out in the 59th minute when the home side worked the ball across the box, and fired it into the roof of the net to bring the scores level.

Torridgeside were hunting for the winner, and Town had numerous occasions to thank Luke Ashford in their goal, who made a string of superb blocks and saves throughout the match.

However, it was Town who scored the next goal. Raybould had to change the system after Doble had received a second yellow. Goal scorer Dingle was sacrificed, to bring on Ben Ede in midfield, pushing Bellow back into defence. This allowed Rooke to be pushed upfront. He almost immediately made an impact with another pass played through the heart of the home side’s defence. Whether Torridgeside defence were tired, didn’t see him or were memorised by his turn of speed, the result was the same thing, as the young hippo made no mistake in restoring Honiton’s lead in the 77th minute. Town were next down to nine men with one of the debutants being sent to the sin bin. The home team pressed the advantage of having two players more on the pitch, but Town were hanging on.

Honiton then conceded a penalty, when a ball was driven against one of The Hippos. The ref felt that it had hit a hand.

Torridgeside placed the ball on the spot. All they needed was to find the back of the net to bring the scores level, but their kicker skied the penalty over the crossbar to leave the Hippos in the lead.

The travelling fans were screaming at their players to protect the lead. Rooke was upended numerous times and ended the match having need to be substituted by Gibbs. However, there was a twist when in the last few minutes, as the home team did equalise. A devastated away team welcomed the return of their sin binned player.

Honiton pushed up the pitch and won a free-kick, with the home subtitute seeing yellow for his troubles. The free kick was in Ben Ede territory. Hippos have seen him finish from this distance on numerous occasions and were dismayed to see him peel off and allow Rogers to stand over the ball. However, no one followed Ede’s run and Rogers clipped the ball to him on the other side of the 18-yard box. Receiving the ball, Ede twisted and turned to fired the ball home to the raptures of the Hippos herd.

The final whistle went shortly after this to confirm a sensational Honiton victory.

Man of the match was given to Fin Rooke, but a special mention must also do to Luke Ashford in the town’s goal, whose string of superb saves kept them in the game. An amazing return to football.

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