Wheatley is Tigers' hero

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 00:05 16 June 2010

AXMINSTER Town made it back-to-back wins with a 3-2 victory over Bickleigh on Monday afternoon.

AXMINSTER Town made it back-to-back wins with a 3-2 victory over Bickleigh on Monday afternoon.

The Tigers' hero was Alex Wheatley who struck a hat-trick in a game that was rich in action, but littered with defensive errors.

Town were two up within 30 minutes as Wheatley scored, first from the spot, and then after a neat interchange that involved Ben Turner and Richie Emmet.

Five minutes before the break Bickleigh struck back with a free kick and, in a frenetic start to the second half, they levelled things up at 2-2.

Dominic McAllister then picked up his second yellow card to leave the Tigers playing the last 25 minutes a man short.

However, this seemed to galvanise them and, when Emmett was clattered to the ground by the Bickleigh keeper, he saw a second yellow and was dismissed. Wheatley fired the spot kick past the stand-in keeper.

Town boss Ray Self said: "That was a cracking game and they (Bickleigh) look a competent side. We have back to back wins now and I am looking for us to build on it on Friday night when we are at Crediton United."

Axminster had recorded their first win of the Peninsula League Eastern Division season with a 2-1 victory at Budleigh Salterton on Saturday. The Tigers were good value for their win, sealed in the 93rd minute by their star on the day, Alex Wheatley.

Manager Ray Self recalled Chris Higgs between the posts and the glovesman responded with a superb display, pulling off a number of fine saves, especially during the early second half stages, when the home side applied their greatest periods of pressure.

The only goal of the first half was testament to the work being done on the Tigers' training ground.

A short corner routine ended with the ball arriving at the feet of Dominic McAllister, who drilled it home from 18 yards.

On the hour mark, Budleigh drew level and, for the following 10 minutes, took charge. However, with the impressive Wheatley pulling the strings in midfield and left back Danny Beer, once again excelling up and down his flank, the Tigers soon regained control of proceedings.

It was no surprise when, deep into added time, Axminster claimed all three points.

Substitute, Jamie Barfoot, showed great pace and persistence to force a corner. Wheatley took it, and again worked a neat training ground routine, slipped the ball between a defender's legs and beat another before driving the ball in at the Budleigh keeper's near post to seal the win.

Ray Self said: "We were good value for this one. I thought it was the all-round work rate that paid dividends and, for me, the contribution from the bench of Adam Cowling, Andy Gage and young Barfoot, was pivotal.

Those fresh legs made a huge impact. Now we need to find a level of consistency to match this fine display.

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