We caught up with Ottery St Mary boss Billy Rouse after his side’s Wednesday night win over Newton Abbot Spurs, a 2-1 success that took his team to the top of the South West Peninsula League Premier East table.
First up, we asked the Ottery boss: ‘Back-to-back wins and table-topping status for your team – how good does that feel?’
He replied saying: “Last night was a great night, I feel like we produced a really complete performance.
“I suspect it was a great game for the neutral and I was really impressed with the football we played, but also the fact that we managed the game so well.
“No clean sheet on this occasion, but sometimes in football there are goals that quite simple are – in a word – ‘worldies’ – and, on the night, we scored one but so did they!”
Next up we asked the Otters’ boss what, if anything he said to the side at half-time with his team winning 2-1?”
Billy said: “We were full of praise for the lads and just asked for more of the same. In the second half we created chances to put the game to bed, but unfortunately they weren’t taken.
“However, I felt we were in control of the points and that was really pleasing.”
He added: “I did enjoy how the lads adapted very quickly – and effectively – when I changed our formation in the second half – there was logic behind the change as it allowed us to control the remainder of the game from the change – and we did just that.”
Next up, we asked the Ottery ‘gaffer’ about Matthew Hesford, a recent signing who has hit the ground running and scoring in each of his outings so far.
Billy said: “Yes, he has been magnificent. We knew that goal scoring was an area we had to strengthen and I’m delighted with how he has started life here at Ottery.
“His goals have been so satisfying as we’ve always had good deliveries into the box from Liam Carey and Danny Pym, but he [Matthew Hesford] is a player who wants to go and win the ball – and he is certainly doing that. More importantly though, within our team shape, defensively he’s been solid and that has given confidence to the players around him.”
We then turned our attention to the ‘obvious’ and the fact that his team have hit top spot.
Billy said: “To be honest, I really am not looking at it as us being top of the table. No, I am currently viewing this as us having banked 21 points out of a possible 27.
“When we came into this league there were comments of us doing well to stay out of the bottom three and, while it is early days, we are all delighted with our points return so far.”
Finally, we asked: ‘Given your side are top, are you feeling that the pressure on your team is now cranked up a notch ‘because’ you are top?
Billy replied saying: “Again, I don’t necessarily look at it as us being top, but teams may now be looking at us and thinking – OK, Ottery have got something about them and may change how they set up.”
He added: “I said to the lads before the win over Newton Abbot Spurs that we face four of the top eight teams in the table in our next four games and our Wednesday night win means that we have begun that run with three points.
“Our next challenge is to travel to Torpoint [Saturday’s opponents] with the mammoth task of trying to take some points away from The Mill.”