Ottery St Mary continued their impressive pre-season schedule with victory in a warm-up game against Clyst Valley, a contest that saw the Otters give more ‘game time’ to blood some young talent coming through the ranks at the club.
The Otters started brightly and bossed much of the early proceedings during which time the visiting side settled for a more conservative approach of being happy to concede possession while putting a lot of effort into a counter-attack game.
Youngster Jack Drew Cull made some lovely runs in behind, picked out nicely by the returning Danny Pym, but, as for the entire first half, the Otters lacked the final pass or, indeed, finish.
Despite Ottery’s dominance, Clyst arguably had the best two chances of the first half, with a shot from 20 yards deflected narrowly wide of Jacob O’Connors goal and then they worked a one-on-one situation at the end of another slick counter-attacking move.
Indeed, the first half ended with neither goalkeeper having been put to the test and, the teams trooped off at the break all square at 0-0.
Despite all their dominance of the ball in that first half, Ottery didn’t move the ball quick enough which, in turn, played into the visitor’s game plan.
The start of the second half saw the pattern of play seen throughout the first 45 minutes, continue. Ottery looked to play on the front foot at ever opportunity.
However, there was one big difference after the break and that was in the finishing department.
Fittingly, it was the impressive Drew Cull who was involved in the deadlock breaking moment as he slipped a fine pass through to Jamie Fanson and, from the edge of the 18 yard box, Fanson drilled the ball home.
That sparked a flurry of action in the Clyst goalmouth and their glovesman pulled off a brace of wonderful saves to deny first Josh Hannaford, and then Pym, to keep the score at 1-0.
It was no more than the Otters deserved when they doubled the lead after a Pym corner was not cleared and the quick-thinking Ashley Small took advantage, planting a header into the back of the net from close range.
Once two goals to the good, Ottery ‘stand-in’ boss, Matt Byrne, rang the changes and, among the new faces introduced to the contest were U18 players Lewis Ayley and Haydon Simpson.
Unfortunately, for the Otters, one of the changes was an enforced one with Cal Ellis getting a nasty knock to his knee.
It was the introduction of Liam Carey, however, who brought energy to the performance and, within 60 seconds of coming on, Carey, after some neat approach play from Small, eased his way past a pair of defenders before tucking the ball home.
Carey then completed the scoring with a fine strike into the bottom corner.
This was a good win for the Otters, who move onto their final pre season fixture on Monday (August 2) before the season starts in earnest next Saturday (August 7) with a first ever South West Peninsula League game against Sidmouth Town (3pm).