window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-YWVXG5STH8'); Pike sparkles as Honiton Town Reserves share a dozen goals with University - East Devon Sport

Pike sparkles as Honiton Town Reserves share a dozen goals with University

 Pike sparkles as Honiton Town Reserves share a dozen goals with University

The Honiton Town Reserves. Picture ANDREW SYMONDS

Honiton Town Reserves were involved in an extraordinary Joma Devon & Exeter League Division Three game, on in which they shared a dozen goals with hosts Exeter University Fifths.

Indeed, it was the second match running that the Hippos’ second string has been involved in a contest that served up no fewer than 12 goals – they had lost 9-3 in their previous game, a Friday night home meeting with Feniton Reserves.

Following that Friday night game, the Town second team opted to double weekly training sessions under the guidance of Niall Boulton with the emphasis put on pressing and retaining a disciplined team ‘shape’ and the benefit of the work was certainly clear throughout the game against the students.

The Hippos made a bright start; they were comfortable in possession and moved the ball around well. The opening goal arrived after a Ryan Pike shot was blocked and Jake Pulman turned the ball home from close range.

A second followed soon after and again the lively Pike was involved, this time applying the finish after a Brad Morris strike came back off the post.

Two became three and Pike made it a hat-trick of ‘involvement’ in goals – either creating or scoring – when his snap-shot was parried by the Students’ glovesman, but only out to Jake Pulman who drilled the ball into the net.

Town were three up before the half hour and quite clearly, at that stage, in control of proceedings. However, their Achilles heel would be their troubles with set pieces and three quick goals from the home side restored parity to the contest. It might have got worse for the Hippos’ when Archie Goddard conceded a penalty, but the spot kick was blazed over the bar and half-time arrived with the contest level at 3-3.

The half time team talk was mostly about emphasising the need for the Hippos’ – who had clearly been the better team across the first 45 minutes with a mix of good passing, pressing well and retaining a good disciplined shape – to simply ‘keep doing what they had been doing’.

However, despite the chat and the confident way in which the Hippos had got through the first half, a shot from outside the area followed by two more goals from set-pieces and the students held a 6-3 lead with one third of the contest still to be played.

Not for the first time this season, the Town second string dug deep and showed immense character to mount a comeback.

Nathan Selway sent a shot just wide of the post and Ryan Pike struck the woodwork from close range before Pike then rifled a free-kick into the top corner to make it 6-4.

Buoyed by the goal, the Hippos went in search of a fifth and it duly arrived when tenacious midfielder Matt Urquhart headed home a Ryan Pike free-kick.

Five minutes from time the comeback was completed when Town levelled with their sixth – and the games 12th – goal.

Fittingly it was Hippos’ Man of the Match Ryan Pike who scored it, finding the back of the home net with a shot from out near the touchline!

Post match, the Hippos’ second team ‘gaffer’ said: “The lads showed great spirt to get the draw. Not one of them didn’t give up and kept to the game plan, and that’s all I can ask for. We will improve on this result and go again this coming Saturday when we entertain Devon Yeoman.”

Stephen Birley

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