Exmouth Town Under-12s made the short trip across East Devon to Ottery St Mary where they played out a thoroughly entertaining 1-1 draw.
The Town youngsters were forced to make the trip with a depleted squad owing to injuries and illness. Indeed, they were only able to field the one substitute!
Despite their pre-match woes with player shortages, the Town side made a good start, playing in the front foot.
They certainly enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and controlled long periods of the game, but they came up against an Ottery goalkeeper that was in inspired form!
The home glovesman was outstanding in denying first George Stone, then Tom O’Connor, Kai Macmanus and Jenson Skinner, before a stupendous stop from that denied Stones with a header, an effort that was destined for the top right hand corner of the net!
However, the pressure had to tell and indeed it did with Macmanus scoring a superb goal in the 20th minute.
The effort had all the hallmark of a ‘Lionel Messi’ esque solo effort! Young Macmanus showed wonderful balance as he shifted the ball from right to left and back again before applying a composed finish.
It was not all one way and Ottery did fashion a couple of first half chances of their own which drew fine saves from Town glovesman Billy Geis while the Town ‘keeper also got great support from defenders William Esson, Fred Fordham and Caleb Howard. With the back line solid, half-time arrived with the Macmanus goal separating the teams.
In the second half Ottery came more into the contest and it was clear to see just why they are unbeaten this season in their division. They are a powerful side with some big players and also no small measure of quality in their ranks.
Chances were fashioned at both ends of the pitch and both goalkeepers were called into action making smart saves before, with 10 minutes remaining, Ottery’s tall striker struck with the equaliser.
Arthur Montague, who is usually used as a full back, did well playing out of position in a defensive midfield role which gave licence for Kai Macmanus to enjoy greater freedom and a licence to roam.
Young Macmanus has been in fantastic form of late and again was the Town Man of the Match.