Doble stars as Honiton Town are edged out at Elmore


- Credit: Archant

When you lose your opening game of a new season you can get overcome with different emotions – mainly those of despair that, after an excellent pre-season build-up and quality time spent on the training ground, things went wrong at the first time of asking in the ‘real’ action.

However, Honiton Town’s single goal defeat at Elmore offered up so many more positives than negatives for the Mountbatten Park management team of Kev Blackwell and his number two Nicky ‘Oggy’ Ogden.

The Hippos went down 1-0 at much fancied Elmore, who had won their previous league game 4-1.

The Tiverton-based side are highly fancied to power their way through the Eastern Division this season and it is highly likely that most sides who visit their Horsdon Park home this season will depart beaten!

Town went into the game with a ‘tweaked’ back four with Aaron Doble given the job of slotting into a central defensive role alongside Darren Witt.

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There was also a debut for Adam Williams in the Hippos’ goal and a first start for Charlie Selley in a front running role.

The opening quarter of the game was a close contest with much of the play taking place in the middle third of the pitch.

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The deadlock was broken when the ball fell invitingly for a home striker who, from close range, stabbed the ball past Williams to give Elmore the lead.

That though was not the start of a period of home dominance – far from it! Town responded superbly and, but for a smart save by the Elmore glovesman, who denied Charlie Selley, the Hippos would have had parity restored well before the break.

During the interval the Town management duo impressed upon their players that they should not be ‘down hearted’ at their first half display; one that had seen them run a confident and quality outfit, work hard for their narrow interval lead.

After the break, as the game became more stretched, chances were created for both sides. Adam Williams denied the home side a second with a fine save before, at the opposite end of the pitch, Chris Long and Tom Perryman both went close.

Typical of the great attitude being shown by the Town players; after indicating that he was ready to be substituted, Lewis Couch was forced to go back for a 60-yard sprint from midfield to see off an Elmore attack. This single action was repeated many times by different players as the Hippos’, to a man, showed they were all prepared ‘to go that extra mile’ for the teams cause.

There was a first appearance in the second half for another summer signing – Jake Sellick – who had enjoyed an impressive pre-season, and he showed that he is a terrific addition to the Hippos playing squad.

Post match, Town boss Kev Blackwell said: “It was always going to be a difficult start for us having to face one of the fancied sides in this league.

“However, the lads stuck to their tasks and did it with a real work ethic that will stand them in good stead for the season.

“It was also pleasing that they did this whilst trying to play football in what I consider the right way.”

He continued: “We took a large squad to Elmore, and it is a shame to have five substitutes on the bench knowing that at least two will not get any game time – but what we have is a squad, that all of the lads have brought into.

“It’s clear that the new players we have introduced to the squad will make us stronger and better equipped for the challenges that a long season at this level throws up.

“Everyone played their part in the match but Aaron Doble stood out as Man of the Match, closely followed by a clearly ever-willing Charlie Selley.

“It was also pleasing to have Richard Allen on-board helping us with the linesman duties, and that so many supporters had made the journey to support the lads at Elmore, that was especially appreciated from both players and management.”

Town are back in action on Saturday (August 18) when they visit Ilfracombe before they play their first home game on Wednesday evening (August 22) when Budleigh Salterton will provide the opposition in the first of this season’s East Devon derbies. Kick-off at Mountbatten Park on Wednesday is 6.30pm.

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