Sidmouth Town set for back-to-back East Devon derby matches

Sidmouth Town at home to Honiton Town. Ref shsp 50-17TI 4848. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Honiton Town. Ref shsp 50-17TI 4848. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town have a couple of ‘tasty’ East Devon derby matches to negotiate this festive holiday.

Sidmouth Town at home to Honiton Town. Ref shsp 50-17TI 4848. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Honiton Town. Ref shsp 50-17TI 4848. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

They travel to Axminster Town on Saturday (December 23) before then making the short trip to Greenway Lane for a Boxing Day morning meeting with Budleigh Salterton (11am).

Both games are ‘extra special’ for different reasons, something that was explained by Town boss Josh Stunell, who said: “For yours truly, the Axminster game is ‘the one’ as I have so many connections and links to football in that area, what with my time at Seaton Town as big rivals to the Tigers, and there’s plenty of familiarity on the pitch in terms of the players from both sides, many of whom played youth football together or went to the same schools and colleges.”

He continued: “However, from the club’s point of view is the Budleigh game, which is ‘the one’ in derby terms as the two clubs have a long history of derby meetings – especially during the festive break and there’s little doubt that the Budleigh game is very special to a lot of people connected with our club.”

Town go into both matches with a full squad and that means a headache – albeit the sort he wants – for the Town boss.


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Stunell says: “You’ll not hear me moaning about a fully fit squad. It does mean I have to get my deep thinking cap on with regard to making sure I field the best 11, but with two derby games in three days it does mean that I can look at the whole squad. Of course, if we do well at Axminster then that 11 are in the frame for the Budleigh game, but the way we play, the intensity of performance, it makes sense to tweak things for the second game – though I suspect a good eight or nine of the starters at Axminster will also be starters at Budleigh.”

When asked what sort of a game he expected at Tiger Way on Saturday, Stunell said: “It will be tough for they [Axminster Town] are a good side and there’s always that little bit extra on the menu with derby matches.”

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Town follow the away derby matches with two more away games – that will mean four successive away matches – as they visit Alphington on the final Saturday of the year (December 30) and then start 2018 with a January 6 trip to Bovey Tracey.

Those five straight away games are then followed by five successive Manstone Lane games!

Stunell says: “It does seem strange that we are fixture with five successive away games followed by five consecutive home outings – but it is what it is and the important thing, from my point of view, is that now we are through one half of our campaign we need to get on a run and look to finish as high as we can in the table.”

Town followers will not need reminding that the last time their side were in action was on December 9 when they lost 5-1 at home to Honiton Town.

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