Small double as Tigers win at Budleigh – now for Sidmouth Town!
PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:14 13 December 2018
Axminster Town moved up to second place in the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division after a 4-2 win at Budleigh Salterton.
The Tigers were hit pre-match by the late withdrawal of full back Connor Hannaford through illness and were already without the holidaying Connor Swingler and the suspended Nathan Antat. However, they were able to welcome back leading scorer Tony Pinder, who had missed the previous game.
As expected Axminster started brightly, taking the game to the nervy Robins; as progressive as the Tigers were, they struggled to create a real goal-scoring opportunity until the 25th minute when left back and joint boss Jonny Hurford delivered a terrific cross that found Ashley Small at the far post. Unfortunately, Small couldn’t adjust his feet quick enough and the ball went out for a goal kick, much to the relief of the young Robins.
The opening goal came on 35 minutes when Hurford powerfully headed home from 20 yards for what proved to be the only goal of the first half.
The opening exchanges of the second half were even-steven, but then the Tigers stepped up a gear and, in the 65th minute, they doubled their lead when Ashley Small scored. Small struck again minutes later – that his 17th league goal of the campaign and a 70th minute long-range Ben Allen strike effectively ended the game as a contest.
A battling Budleigh did score twice late on, but the Tigers’ centre back pairing of skipper Darren Hutchings and Cam Vere made sure there were no further alarms for the Town goal.
For the Tigers it is now six games unbeaten and on Saturday (December 15) they play a second successive East Devon derby when they visit Sidmouth Town (3pm).