Upottery so unlucky in narrow defeat at Okehampton
PUBLISHED: 11:51 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 22 January 2020
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Upottery came mighty close to becoming the first team to defeat Macron Devon & Exeter League Premier Division leaders Okehampton, writes Steve Birley.
Upottery led twice and there was a big slice of good fortune about the way the home side levelled for the second time before winning the game 3-2 with a late strike.
When the sides met at Glebe Park in late September, Upottery were thrashed 7-1, but this was a very different encounter and, had Dan Prettejohn's side returned to East Devon with the points there'd have been few in a big home crowd that would have argue with that outcome!
Upottery began the game well and were good value for a 1-0 lead given to them by a Jamie Girton finish.
They had the ball in the home net for a second time with Sam Winslade the scorer only for the match official to deem that the Upottery striker had 'fouled' the home glovesman!
Okehampton hit back to level, but Upottery were instantly back on the front foot and, minutes after being pegged back they regained the lead with a slick finish from Steve Morris.
The incident that changed the direction of the game came in the final third of the contest. A free-kick was awarded to the home side and taken some 20 yards from where the 'foul' was committed and, when the ball was delivered into a crowded area there seemed to be a clear 'push' on an Upottery defender, but the ball ultimately ended in the back of the net to see the table-topers level for the second time.
A third late on consigned Upottery to defeat. Beaten - and bruised - they may well have been, but manager Dan Prettejohn was quick to praise his side. He said: "The lads were simply superb. They [Okehampton] are a quality outfit and the fact that we have come away feeling rather hard done by speaks volumes for the shift the lads put in. I won't say too much about my thoughts on some of the decisions because (1) it will be seen as sour grapes and (2) as a qualified referee myself I am loathe to question another guys decision making, but really, some of the decisions made in this game were bizarre and I feel so sorry for my team, who deserved so much more than to come away losers."
Prettejohn added: "Mid you, as good as we did play up there at Okehampton, I did champion the lads post match that they now have to deliver more of the same in coming games, starting with this Saturday's Glebe Park East Devon derby with Seaton Town (2.15pm).