Cranbrook end league term with narrow defeat

PUBLISHED: 13:42 23 April 2019

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Cranbrook signed off their Macron League Division Three campaign with a narrow 2-1 defeat to a Dunkeswell Rovers side that look set for a top three finish - something that Cranbrook were looking set for at the turn of the year.

Not for the first time this season, Cranbrook boss Jon Martin was hamstrung with his selection choices, having no fewer than nine players unavailable for the Easter Monday game!

A first half penalty from youngster Tre Davey separated two well-matched sides at half-time.

The Dunks levelled early in the second half and then a red card reduced the home side to 10 men. The dismissal was most certainly of the 'dubious' kind as there was a general feeling that the Cranbrook defender was deemed to be the 'last man' and so he saw red!

To compound the Cranbrook misery one of their own got the final touch to a cross into the home area in added time for the Dunks to take all three points courtesy of an own goal!

The Cranbrook boss said: “There's no way we deserved to lose that one. We pushed a very good Dunkeswell side all the way and I was so proud of each and everyone of my lads who pulled the shirt on.

“Selection was difficult and we fielded two lads who perhaps should not have started as they were carrying injuries, but the strength of character in our dressing room is top drawer.”

As for the Man of the Match award, martin said: “I'm not singling any out any one individual as I felt they all out a huge shift in. Pre match I asked for 100 per cent and that's what I got from everyone.”

Despite this being their final league outing, the season is not quite over for Cranbrook as they still have a Football Express Cup tie to play against Division Six champions Kentisbeare Reserves.

Martin says: “The cup game is in a couple of weeks and I can guarantee that I'll have 17 players wanting to play in that one!

“I've watched them (Kentisbeare) and they're a decent, well-organised side! What's more they are unbeaten this season with just one league game to go which, in my book, despite us being a division above, makes us the underdogs. But we'll take that tag and give it our best shot.”

As for next season, Martin says: “We have new facilities coming in the next 12 months which I am sure will boost player interest in the club!

“This season has been a tough one and the one thing that has hurt us has been a lack of goals. However, the stats also show that we have the best defensive record in the league! So my main job is to try and find someone to stick it on the onion bag over the summer. Ideally I'd like to bring in three or four quality players over the summer who can help us push for success next season.”

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