Honiton Town edged out on a soggy all-weather surface in Exeter

PUBLISHED: 12:29 01 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:29 01 April 2018

The Honiton Town 1st team strip for the 2017/18 South West Peninsula League season

The Honiton Town 1st team strip for the 2017/18 South West Peninsula League season

Archant

Good Friday was anything but good for Honiton Town when weather forced their much-anticipated South West Peninsula League Eastern Division Groundhop Day meeting with Ilfracombe Town to be moved from a waterlogged Mountbatten Park to the weather-resistant artificial pitch that is home to fellow SWPL Eastern Division outfit Exwick Villa.

Town lost the game 1-0, but far more of a disappointment for then club – other than another three points being lost, is the fact that they were unable to harvest the sort of matchday income that a crowd of 250-300 (that was the anticipated turnout), brings!

With the game being switched to Exeter, there was still a good turnout, but all Town saw from it was programme sails and sales of club badges. They missed out on a healthy take on the gate as well as what would have been excellent revenue from half-time and full time use of then club bar and refreshments.

It’s a good thing the game was played on an artificial surface for the rain that fell during the game would have quickly made a grass surface unplayable!

The Hippos, in front of a crowd of 220 braving then incessant rain, made a bright start and Ash Small spurned a great chance to put them ahead.

With very little cover at the Exeter ground, many of those who had watched the opening exchanges, sought the comfort of a local pub to escape the incessant rain which greatly reduced what would otherwise have been a superb atmosphere from such a crowd.

Just before the interval Small was forced off with injury and replacement, Joe Mulhall, almost made an immediate goal-scoring impact, but was denied by the Ilfracombe glovesman.

At the other end of the pitch the Hippo’s defence, well led by the solid pairing Aaron Doble and Martyn Hancock, were equal to the best the North Devon side could offer.

The match-deciding moment came early in the second half when Ilfracombe centre half Brodie Montague broke clear and, faced with a one-on-one with Town goalkeeper Roan Symonds, got the better of the glovesman by drilling the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Town made further changes with Andy Issacs introduced to try and find an equalling goal, but, try as they did, a goal was not forthcoming and time ran out on the Hippos who were left post match to reflect on another narrow defeat and a real opportunity to boost club funds washed away by the rains.

Next up for the Hippos is Saturday’s (April 7) tough-looking trip to title chasing Newton Abbot Spurs. Thereafter Town will have eight more games to ensure they finish above the bottom two berths.

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