Freemantle nets late winner for Honiton Town Reserves at Newton Poppleford

Newton Poppleford at home to Honiton. Ref shsp 12 18TI 9668. Picture: Terry Ife

Newton Poppleford at home to Honiton. Ref shsp 12 18TI 9668. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton Town Reserves moved their game from a rain-affected Mountbatten Park to the dryer surface of opponents Newton Poppleford to ensure they chalked off one of their many remaining Macron League Division Two games.

The switch worked well as the Hippos returned with all three points thanks to an 85th minute goal scored by teenage hitman Blake Freemantle.

Town travelled for the East Devon ‘home’ derby without a number of regulars and that, combined with a lack of recent action – the Town second team have only played four times since the first Saturday of November! – led to a ‘scrappy’ opening quarter before the opening goal arrived, scored by the home side when a mistimed pass let in the home winger and he crossed for a teammate to power a header home.

That’s the way the game remained through until the half-time break, but, during the interval, Town boss John Lewis clearly let his underperforming side see his disappointment at what they had served up because, from the re-start, Town looked a yard sharper and they slowly, but surely, took charge of the game.

However, what changed the course of the contest was undoubtedly a superb piece of management by Lewis who, in a bid to change his side’s fortunes, made three substitutions at the same time and, within minutes of the change, Connor Flanagan won a free-kick that was delivered into the area by Freemantle to where skipper Darren Witt rose above everybody else to power a header into the home net off a defender.

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Once level, Town took complete control and it was no more than they deserved when, with five minutes remaining, Freemantle drilled home what proved to be the winner.

Boss Lewis said post match: “It was most definitely not a classic game, but we managed to bag the points, and now we must move on to the next game. The key going forward is for us to put our chances away.”

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Town’s second team have one more game to complete the first half of their Macron League Division Two campaign, after which they will have another 14 games to play. It’s a tough ask, but the fact is that if Town Reserves were to win all their games in hand they would sit level with current table-toppers Woodbury!

On Saturday they travel to Bow for what is the first of a run of eight games in 26 days! After the Bow trip they have seven successive home games – all within 21 days – entertaining Newtown, Bow, Dawlish, East Budleigh, Thorverton, Kentisbeare and Woodbury.

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