Hutchings stars as Axminster Town bank point from midweek visit to Elmore
PUBLISHED: 13:54 11 April 2019
Just days after being berated by their management team following a dismal effort against Bovey Tracey, Axminster Town reached new heights this season as they returned from a visit to title-chasing Elmore having dented the hosts top honour aspirations in a 1-1 draw.
Joint boss Josh Stunell said: “Myself and Jonny (fellow joint manager Jonny Hurford] expected to see a positive reaction after Saturdays debacle at Bovey Tracey and we re-instated Darren Hutchings and Nathan Antat into the stating eleven, with talented youngsters Kieran Daniels and Reece McCabe making way.”
From the first whistle it was clear that the visitors were ‘up for it’ putting in a controlled yet aggressive display, giving the home side no chance to settle and get into their rhythm.
It was the Tigers’ midfield trio of Hutchings, Ben Allen and Luke Finn, who seized the initiative and controlled much of the first half play, but it was the home side that fashioned the first chance when former Sidmouth Town Rob Knight brought the best out of Tigers keeper Ashley Smith.
The opening goal came in the 16th minute when Ashley Small punished some indecisiveness from the Eagles defence to sweep home his 21st goal of the season.
Axminster pressed, looking for a second goal and only some good defending from Elmore’s back line kept the home side ‘in the game’ as they were clearly on the ropes and mighty relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
During the break the home management undoubtedly ‘read the riot act’ to their players whilst the Tigers were sent out to delver ‘’more of the same’.
Elmore began the second half on the front foot, but were finding Tigers backline of Antat, Jon Hurford, Dan Beer and Connor Hannaford in defiant mood and one sensed that Elmore would need to find something out of the ordinary to get back in the game.
In the 52nd minute Eagles player Harry Butler picked up the ball wide on the left hand side and duly miss-hit a cross that completely deceived Smith in the away goal and looped into the far right top corner.
The Tigers dusted themselves down and went straight back on the front foot. By now the contest was a fairly even contest with Axminster having a huge penalty appeal turned down on the 65th minute after Tony Pinder appeared to have been pole-axed in the area!
With 15 minutes left Elmore looked to take the game to the Tigers, but were wary of the quick counter-attack, which the Tigers threatened on many occasions.
Post match, Stunell said: I thought, on the night, we shaded, it but Elmore deserve a lot of credit as they picked up their game in the second half, our lads deserve a lot of credit and showed tonight all the qualities needed to wear a Tigers shirt and Jonny and I were proud of the lads at Elmore. To pick themselves up after Saturdays game and play like they did in Tiverton was very pleasing.”