Tactics secure point
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:41 15 June 2010
The weather once again ripped into the local league football programme to such a degree that more teams were inactive than actually got some football in writes Stephen Birley.
The weather once again ripped into the local league football programme to such a degree that more teams were inactive than actually got some football in. The only Senior sides to see action were Feniton, Seaton Town, Motel Rangers & Offwell and Seaton Town Reserves whilst there were also a number of games that survived the winds and the rain in the Intermediate divisions.Feniton travelled into Exeter to meet the same Clyst Valley outfit with whom they had shared four goals, and the points, at Acland Park the week before and the two teams once again ended all square, and again it was 2-2. Blues' boss Dave Carnall said: "It was a superb game of football, well-contested by two even sides both committed to attacking play and I must also say it was quite magnificently controlled by a referee who let the game flow and regularly took into account the terrible conditions."Jonathan French fired Feniton into the lead but the hosts were level before the break and they took what looked like being a 'winning' 2-1 lead with just seven minutes to go. But then Carnall pulled off a tactical masterstroke! He switched his full backs, pushed Richard 'Oz' Austin into the forward line and introduced third substitute Andy Rose from the bench. The move paid instant dividends as Austin got clear, rounded the keeper and squared it for Andy Jones to roll the ball home. The 'Austin factor' very nearly won Feniton the game as, in the last minute, Austin again beat the last man, only for the mud to play a vital part as it held the ball up before Jones could knock home what would surely have been the winner.On Saturday, the Blues have a rare 'day off' with no game but they have been dealt a major blow with the news that arguably one of their best players, Dave Court, is leaving the club for pastures new. Court has take a new job within his beloved cricket in Surrey and will relocate to the county and will grace football and cricket pitches there with his talents for the foreseeable future. Carnall says: "It's a massive blow. Dave is a huge part of Feniton Football Club and we will certainly miss his presence on and off the pitch. But life goes on and, during the summer, we will look to recruit some fresh faces."Beer Albion were inactive last weekend when their game at Bickleigh was washed out. This weekend they travel to Clyst Valley.Seaton Town dominated the entire second half of another weather spoilt game, this one at East Budleigh, which was the only game to be played in the Senior One Division. The hosts, whose pitch always stands up well to the wet, led 1-0 at the break courtesy of a wind-assisted long distance free kick but 16 year old Josh French levelled things up in the second half. Town manager Mark Rooke said: "At kick off, given the conditions, and the fact that the weather was probably going to mean more of a lottery than a game of competitive football, I'd have settled there and then for a point but at full time we were left feeling it was two points dropped as we did create umpteen chances in the second half to win it."With injuries to regular centre backs Steve Grigg and Neil Pigeon, it was left to midfielder Marcus Furneaux-Harris to play at centre half and he was superb throughout.With half a dozen games to play Town sit in that all important third promotion berth. With games to come against each of the four sides propping up the Division, as well as meetings with Budleigh Salterton and East Budleigh, they are in a very healthy position to go on and claim a place in next season's Premier Division. Rooke said: "We do have what, on paper, looks a decent run-in, especially with playing the sides at the foot of the table but we must take nothing for granted. We are in a good position through a lot of hard work and all it needs now is one final push and we can look forward, hopefully, to playing at the top level next season. That would be great for the football club."Seaton Town Reserves had a 4-2 Colyford Road win over a hapless Motel Rangers and Offwell, a game that confirmed the Motel side as being relegated to Senior Four next season. Marcus Wyatt, yet another of an excellent crop of 16-year-olds at the club, netted an excellent treble and the other goal for Town came from a very well known source! Matthew Lawrence was a Seaton Town stalwart until making the switch to Motel & Offwell a couple of seasons ago and he was the brunt of post-match joking from his former team-mates as he scored an own goal to help Town towards the points. Axmouth United stayed amongst the promotion hopefuls in Intermediate One with a 1-1 draw with visiting Heavitree Harriers Reserves. Christian Burridge was the home side's 'star man' and he capped a fine game with his second half goal that levelled things up after the visitors had taken a lead into the break. Phil Squire also had a fine game and, as United Boss James Tweed said, the two of them were excellent role models: "Both Christian (Burridge) and Phil (Squire) gave absolutely everything - and a bit more - in some of the poorest conditions we have faced for a long, long time. With hindsight I don't think we should have played the game but, after the amount of work we put in with Friday forking and Saturday morning rolling, we had to give it a go. The problem now is how much damage have we done the surface?" One immediate casualty was the following afternoon's cup tie which had to be cancelled owing to the post match state of the United pitch. Honiton Town Reserves claimed a 5-0 win at Oak in a windswept Intermediate Two game. Eighteen-year-old Tom Chown capped a superb individual performance with a goal. With strike partner Paul Blackmore caused problems all afternoon for the hosts - and helped himself to a brace with the other Town goals coming from Craig Lampton and Stuart McKay. Town boss Richard Ayres said: "To be fair to them (Oak), they were in the contest for some time and, had they taken their chances, especially in the first half, then the result might have been very different."Beer Albion Reserves won 7-1 at a weather worn Furzebrake. The Fishermen's John Moughton said: "That has to be the wildest conditions Furzebrake has ever endured on a matchday when a game has been played. "We played very well with the wind in the first half and frankly even better against in in the second half. It was a very good all round show from the side." Luke Bartlett was the Albion star man with a hat-trick, the other goals being scored by Justin Adkin, Callum Gribble, Chris Bowles and Mat Cosgrave.Awliscombe battled to a 1-1 draw with Hatherleigh Town Reserves. David Trenchard fired his side level in another game that was like playing football in a wind tunnel such were the ferocious conditions on the day. Martin Wilmington said: "It was very difficult even trying to play football in those conditions. Both sides did well in an even contest.