Saxton sparkles as Cranbrook win away

PUBLISHED: 09:53 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:53 31 October 2018

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Cranbrook rediscovered the winning formula as they claimed their fourth success of the Macron League Division Five campaign, defeating Central 4-1 in Exeter.

Cranbrook made a confident start and took an early lead when Ben Saxton applied a clinical finish to a well constructed move.

That set the tone for a first half of dominance from Cranbrook, who should have added to their lead, but they were indebted to goalkeeper Danny Parcell, who denied the home side an equaliser with a terrific save which enabled his side to take their single goal lead into half-time.

After the break Tal O’Donahue doubled the Cranbrook advantage with a slick strike from just inside the area and, when the ball was worked well down the left, young Reece Saunders ‘fizzed’ a superb ball across the area and it was met by winger Saxton, who had come inside, and he drilled the ball home to make it 3-0.

That ought to have been the foundation for Cranbrook to go on and add further goals and seal a big clean sheet success, but they were caught out when a ball into their area was not dealt with and a Central player headed it past Parcell to make it 3-1. Stung by the goal, Cranbrook were soon on the front foot and 15 minutes after being pegged back the margin was again one of three goals as a Saunders corner was headed home by centre back Jon Elstone at the far post. That proved to be the final goal of the contest and thereafter Cranbrook saw the game out in a degree of comfort.

A delighted Cranbrook boss, Jon Martin said: “I was so pleased that Jon [Elstone] got a goal. He has been one of, if not the, most consistent performer so far this season and he was close to picking up the Man of the Match award. However, that accolade has to go to Ben Saxton, who produced a scintillating display in attack and defence down the right flank.”

On the game in general, Martin said: “It was a much tougher game than the score line suggests. Central were a young side and competed well from the first whistle to the 90th minute.”

The win was a fourth straight away success and so Cranbrook retain a 100 per cent away record this season, but that’s in stark contrast to their home record of played three, lost three.

Martin says: “I do wish our home form was matching our away form. I really cannot put my finger on why we are having such a contrast in fortunes away as opposed to the home form. I am planning to change our routine next time we are at home to see if that works!”

On Saturday, Cranbrook travel to second in the table Devon Yeoman. Cranbrook manager Jon Martin says: “They don’t come any tougher than a trip to Devon Yeoman! We always struggle against them and haven’t managed a league win against them in four previous attempts!

“They have some good players by the sounds of it this season and they have definitely got one eye on the league title, so I’m expecting a very tough game. We’ll clearly be the underdogs, but I expect my players to give me 100 per cent, and, if we do that, you never know what might happen.”

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