Hippos back on top after Upottery victory
- Credit: Archant
Honiton Town are still to concede a goal in 2017 after they recorded a second 4-0 win over Upottery inside a month in Macron League Premier Division meetings.
The ‘unavailable’ list was extensive before the game with Town boss Kev Blackwell without the injured Tom Perryman, the unavailable Aidan Barrett, away at a family wedding and also Matt Brown, who, despite recovering from a knee injury, was stricken with a sickness bug.
Things got even worse for the Hippos just 10 minutes into the contest when Ben Ashford hobbled off with an injury and, 15 minutes later, centre back Dan Broom also left the game through injury! Blackwell countered the problems by being able to call on the services of Darren Witt and Jack Knight, though both were introduced from the bench much earlier than the Town boss had hoped to do so!
With Town’s second and third teams being without a game it did allow Blackwell the luxury of having a look at teenage duo Jack de Winton and Blake Freemantle in the first team, and both looked comfortable throughout the contest.
A close range header from Jo Mulhall broke the deadlock – the striker opening the scoring with his 15th goal of the term.
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During the half-time break, with a single goal lead, but having just one more change to make after the early game injuries, Blackwell championed his side on then need to stay patient and disciplined and not to be distracted from the need to keep moving the ball around.
Jack Knight doubled the lead; slaloming his way around the Upottery defence before thumping it home.
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Young Blake Freemantle scored the third after picking up the ball wide left and rifling it home from a tight angle.
The goal was a real reward for the effort and attitude he showed throughout the game, one which saw him come in for some strong physical challenges!
Joe Dixon completed the scoring.
Blackwell said: “Obviously banking three more points was a priority, but the performances from Blake [Freemantle] and Jack [de Winton], were huge positives. Both played with real maturity as did Ryan Pike who made the huge leap from third team to first team and put in a really strong performance when we needed it.
“Our unused sub Rowan Symonds also more than played his part in the preparation and in game support so it was pleasing that the four young lads stepped up, and, based on what they collectively gave us, the future of our club really does look very bright.”
Blackwell continued: “Darren Witt and Jack Knight have to be commended as does everyone for some how digging deep and finding a little bit extra and getting us over the line.
“Upottery had been quite canny with their team selection, fielding a number of players who had not played in the game last month. They gave us a good test and I’d like to think that Dan [Upottery boss Dan Prettejohn] can go on and keep his side in the top flight – I certainly hope so anyway.”
Next up for the Hipos, who returned to the top of the table with the win is a trip on Saturday (February 18) to Heavitree.
Blackwell says: “The Heavies will be another tough test for us.”