Couch stars as Hippos are beaten at Appledore

Budleigh Salterton action from the 2-1 dfeat at Honiton Town. The two captains at the toss of the co

Budleigh Salterton action from the 2-1 dfeat at Honiton Town. The two captains at the toss of the coin. Picture: JASON SEDGEMORE - Credit: Archant

Honiton Town slipped to a 3-1 defeat when they travelled to Appledore for a South West Peninsula League Eastern Division game.

The Hippos downfall, on the day, was another sluggish start which left them with far too much to do in the contest.

Just before half-time skipper Ben Ede slammed home a penalty to send his side in only one a single goal in arrears.

The Hippos improved significantly in the second half and were on the wrong side of a number of ‘strange’ decisions made by the match official. None more so than when a ‘goal’ from Aaron Doble was chalked off for a ‘foul’ on the home goalkeeper. There was more grief for the Town faithful when what seemed be ‘arm intervention’ to stop the flight of the ball from an Ede free-kick was not punished and, to cap it all, the home side put the game to bed with a clinical finish from a slick counter-attack.

Town boss Kev Blackwell said: “After our midweek win over Budleigh we travelled with some renewed confidence, but, and annoyingly in chat is becoming a recurring issue, we again started slowly. That’s baffling given that, once again, the lads looked sharp in the warm-up! The early goals we conceded were so preventable! There were too many gaps, players not tight enough and a clear overall a casualness that has crept into our game.”

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He continued: “In the second half, we retained the ball so much better, and we looked a lot more threatening going forward whilst keeping things tight at the back. What went against us were decisions made at crucial times. I’m not someone who will complain overly about referee’s decisions, but we can feel a little hard done by that we didn’t have the rub of the green.”

On the plus side Blackwell was pleased that his team not once showed signs of ‘throwing in the towel’. He said: “I must credit the lads for never giving up; they kept going to the final whistle which bodes well for future games.

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“As much as we can feel hard done by, we make our own luck, and its up to us to take games by the scruff of the neck and make things happen - we cant keep coming up with excuses on why things aren’t going our way we have to keep plugging away.

“We were fantastic with the ball; we need to match that up to when we don’t have it.”

In terms of the individual performances, Blackwell had high praise for one player in particular.

He said: “Lewis Couch followed up his impressive match against Budleigh at centre back, with a Man of the Match performance as a striker proving himself to be Honiton Towns answer to Dion Dublin!”

So what next for Town and the boss with three defeats and a win from their first four games.

Blackwell says: “Moving forward, I cant keep saying the same things regarding belief, trust and playing with confidence. Those things will come with results, but lads need to play and make things happen on their terms.

“There will be changes for this coming Wednesday, Its not as though lads have played poorly, but I have to do what I think is best for the team.”

On Wednesday (August 29), Town entertain Sidmouth Town Town in another midweek East Devon derby. Kick-off at Mountbatten Park is 6.30pm.

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