Otters hit five in season opener against Kingsteignton

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Billy Rouse began life as Ottery St Mary manager in style as his side beats Kingsteignton 5-1 in the Devon Football League South-West Division.

In the team’s opening fixture of the 2020/21 campaign, the Otters came from behind to win at Kingsteignton which saw them move into third in the table.

The Otters manager, who joined the club in the summer, said he ‘couldn’t be happier’ following the ‘step into the unknown’ that comes with managing a new club. He said: “ was very nervous in the build-up as it’s a new challenge and stepping into the unknown was always going to be tough but the lads embraced the challenge so well.

The opening goal of the game came for the hosts when an Ottery free kick was passed back to Ben Lawrence who then miscontrolled the ball into the path of the home side’s striker.

The striker proceeded to lob keeper Jacob O’Callaghan who was caught unawares.

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Rouse said: “The goal shook us into life and with a formation tweak, we began to turn the screw.

“Ashley Small and Matt Webb both went close, the latter crashing a 25-yard strike off the crossbar before captain Danny Pym then went close with a free kick which was expertly saved by the Kings’ keeper.”

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Ottery pushed for an equaliser with Charlie Cox and Dan Gill beginning to boss the midfield battle.

The Otters were looking like they were heading into the break 1-0 down but, 10 minutes before the interval, the equaliser came.

Pym’s delivery was met by the head of Lawrence who in turn found Small and he cleverly turned and poked the ball home from close range.

The second half continued the same way of the first with Ottery on the front foot.

Small, who was a constant threat throughout, combined well with Webb after being sent through by substitute Luka Nickles. Webb showed neat footwork before finishing from close range.

Winger Liam Carey was introduced and he supplied a sumptuous finish from 25 yards which left the keeper stranded to make it 3-1.

Carey then got his second and Ottery’s fourth with a superb free kick which nestled into the corner.

The fifth goal came with five minutes remaining as substitutes James Fanson & Nickles combined with Nickles rounding the keeper and slotting into the net.

After the match, Rouse said: “We started slowly and gave away a sloppy goal but the reaction was faultless. We ran out deserved winners and scored some great goals.

“It was so pleasing to see the impact from the bench with all three subs contributing to goals with Liam Carey scoring twice and James Fanson assisting Luka Nickles for another.

“Credit to Kingsteignton they’ll be tough to beat for sides and if they had nicked another goal things could of been different.

“The expectation is always to win games, I wouldn’t be in the job if that wasn’t the case. As I’ve said previously, we’re in the unknown this year as we don’t know what we’re up against. We reacted well Saturday but we can’t give teams anything for free.”

The Otters followed up Saturday’s win with a 6-1 win Wednesday home success against Watcombe Wanderers and will now take on Waldon Athletic on Saturday (September 12). .

Rouse said: “I expect Waldon to be a tough test. Nobody is going to roll over and die for you.

“We’ve got to be on it from the get go and keep our hunger and consistency levels high. If we do that, I’m confident we can come out with another three points on the board.”

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