Pinder hat-trick sends Axminster Town joint top at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 14:23 23 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 23 December 2018

Tony Pinder in action for Axminster Town during the pre-season friendly against Bridport at Tiger Way. Picture STEVEN WAKELEY PHOTOGRAPHY.

Tony Pinder in action for Axminster Town during the pre-season friendly against Bridport at Tiger Way. Picture STEVEN WAKELEY PHOTOGRAPHY.

Archant

Axminster Town will go into their Boxing Day morning (11am) meeting with Honiton Town at Tiger Way, sitting joint top of the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division table after a terrific 4-2 success at Ilfracombe Town.

What made a third away win of the league season all the more impressive was the fact that the Tigers made the long trip to North Devon on the Saturday before Christmas without the services of Cameron Vere (illness) together with Callum Garrett and skipper Darren Hutchings (both unavailable), but welcomed back university students Jacob Rowe, George Haywood and Aaron Daniels.

Then home team struck first, taking a third minute lead after a neat cross from

Jamie Mirow, that found Ilfracombe top scorer Sam Box at the far post, and he powerfully headed home from four yards out.

The Tigers response was both swift and clinical as Tony Pinder latched onto a through-ball from Ashley Small and rounded the home goalkeeper before rolling the ball home.

That proved to be the end of the first half scoring, but both teams served up some good fare for a healthy turnout of support. It was more a case of good defending at both ends of the pitch that resulted in no further goals and half-time arrived with the game still all square at 1-1.

For the home side, Brodie Montague had a fine half and for the Tigers, it was Jacob Rowe who had been orchestrating things superbly fro midfield.

The Tigers made some minor tweaks to their formation and this played dividends as on the 60th minute, the normally impeccable Mathews in the home goal made a complete hash of a back pass, totally missing the ball and this allowed Pinder to nip in and tuck the ball home.

Five minutes later Matthews came for a cross and caught the ball, however he then bumped into one of his own players and this dislodged the ball which fell invitingly to the feet of Connor Swingler who riffled home to make it 3-1.

By now, Axminster Town were firmly in control as the home side seemed deflated, and, in the 70th minute, Ilfracombe again shot themselves in the foot after giving away a needless penalty and up set the league’s top scorer, Tony Pinder, to send Matthews the wrong way and net his 22 league goal in the process.

The Bluebirds deserve a lot of credit as they took the game to their Tigers and, after a rash challenge by Connor Hannaford in the penalty area, Ilfracombe had a great opportunity to bag a second, but they thumped the penalty wide of the mark!

The home side did continue to press though and it was only a wonderful 85th minute save from Tigers’ glovesman Ashley Smith that denied them a second. However, from the resulting corner, CJ Roberts beat Tigers Nathan Antat to the ball and headed with ease past the stranded Smith to give a the final score a more reflective look after a fine 90 minutes of action.

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