Hippos back to top spot after Clyst Valley success

Honiton Town 2nds at home to Bampton. Ref mhsp 51-16TI 4029. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton Town 2nds at home to Bampton. Ref mhsp 51-16TI 4029. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton Town sit proudly back on top of the Macron League Premier Division table after the first match day of 2017, thanks to a 4-0 victory at Clyst Valley.

The fact the teams had not seen action for three weeks wing to the festive break, clearly played its part as the opening exchanges were of the scrappy variety.

The Hippos enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball, but created precious little with it while the home side did force Town glovesman Matty Long into action with one long-range shot.

The deadlock was finally broken a minute before the break when a new signing Aidan Barrett scored with almost the last kick of the half.

At half-time Hippos chief Kev Blackwell let his team know in no uncertain terms that the first 45 minutes had seen them drop well below the standards they had set for themselves and that he expected a much improved second half display.

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The response he got was ideal! Throughout the second half the Hippos were a yard faster and certainly had more drive and determination about their play. The ball was fizzed about the pitch with some panache and a second from new man Barrett together with a brace from Joe Mulhall ensured the Hippos made the perfect start to the year.

Blackwell said: “The most pleasing things for me was the attitude. The half-time chat was not a ‘paint off the walls’ job, but it was a firm word. Given that before the break we had dropped points it was vital we started this year well and this is a result and a performance – certainly in the second half – that we can build on. I thought Ben [Ashford] and Dan [Broom] were superb. Mention must also of course be made of the contributions from the two goal scorers, but for me, the stand-out individual shift was put in Jordan Stickland at right back. He was excellent and did not put a foot wrong the entire game.”

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This Saturday (January 14) Town entertain Hatherleigh.

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