Axminster Town so close to major result at Stoke Gabriel

PUBLISHED: 12:17 14 February 2012

Axminster at home to Budleigh on Saturday. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhsp 0643-36-11TI

Axminster at home to Budleigh on Saturday. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhsp 0643-36-11TI

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Stoke Gabriel 4:3 Axminster Town

Axminster Town produced arguably their best performance of the season and were most unfortunate to be edged out in their visit to high flying Stoke Gabriel.

Despite falling behind in the fourth minute the Tigers took the game to the high flying hosts and levelled on the half hour. Justin Grimshaw launched the ball forward; Cowling out-jumped his marker and flicked the ball on for Chamberlain to race away. The Tigers leading scorer then saw his shot cannon back off the upright only to fall to the supporting Cowling who tucked it away. The home side regained the lead before the break, but Town began the second half brightly and were level again when Cowling and Chamberlain combined for a carbon copy of the first Tigers goal. Twenty five minutes from time Chamberlain raced clear to fire the Tigers into a 3-2 lead.

There were two further glorious chances that fell to Town to bag a fourth and effectively kill off the game. First Chamberlain, for the third time in the contest, struck the frame of the goal. However, on this occasion the ball did not fall back at the feet of a team mate. Then Chamberlain and Cowing split the home defence and worked a two-on-one situation that left Chamberlain with the option of playing in his strike partner or taking on the last man, he opted for the latter and sadly the move broke down. It was well inside the final ten minutes that the home side drew level at 3-3 and then, deep into injury time, Town keeper Chris Higgs came out of his goal through a crowd of players and was deemed to have felled a home player. The match official pointed to the spot and Clay Bond, the host’s star man, stroked the spot kick home to break the hearts of the valiant Tigers.

Tiger’s boss Ray Self said: “That was so disappointing. I felt for the team after the game because, without doubt, they did not deserve to return home after that particular 98 or so minutes with nothing to show for their supreme effort. We really put a shift in at Stoke Gabriel and it just shows how close we are as a team to being able to compete week in and week out with the best at our level.”

Self must take some of the credit for this outstanding performance. It was the Tigers boss who tweaked the formation, deploying Danny Beer and Neil Pigeon as wing-backs whilst the front two of Adam Cowling and Jamie Chamberlain led the Stoke Gabriel defence a merry dance for most of the contest.

Town have no game on Saturday, they are next in action the week after (February 25) with a Sector Lane meeting with champions-elect Liverton United.


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