Millwey Rise and near neighbours Axminster 2nd X1 played out a very entertaining, typical local derby match at Cloakham Lawns on Easter Saturday, writes Dick Sturch.
Playing against a strong wind blowing into their faces, Millwey found themselves under early pressure, but no direct threat came until the visitors were allowed space but the final shot was well wide.
Axe continued to press hard with three corner kicks in quick succession with Millwey finding it difficult to clear the ball against the wind.
‘Rise’ came very close to going in front when Sam Turner swept a sublime pass into Nathan Womersley’s path and his cross was met by Jack Bennett’s header which crashed against the upright.
The visitors came back and again had three corner kicks within a couple of minutes. Millwey nearly paid the price for some slack defending when a clearance went directly to an Axminster forward but thankfully turned away for another corner kick.
Jack Bennett slotted the ball home to give ‘Rise’ the lead after half an hour following some good build-up play.
The final quarter of the half was full of controversy as first Axe scored from a penalty when the ball had been blatantly handled by a visitor’s player prior to the decision being given.
Then Axminster saw the ball cross the goal-line only to be over ruled and a corner given.
In between these incidents Sam Burke saw a goal bound strike deflected for a Millwey corner as eventually the half came to a close.
The second period began where the first had ended. Axe now playing against the wind exerted more pressure on the ‘Rise’ defence with a series of corners and a shot which hit the bar before being cleared.
Sam Dibling came close for the home side when he broke through the Axe defence only to see his shot carried on the wind sail just over the crossbar. Another free-kick for the visitors saw the ball strike the ‘Rise’ upright.
The game swung from end to end as the half drew to a close with both defences having to scramble the ball clear. Millwey again hit the Axe crossbar and in-turn the visitors had the ball in the net but ruled offside in the process.
Twenty-one Axminster corners gives some indication of the pressure they exerted on a Millwey side who gamely held out taking full advantage of the new ‘roll on – roll off’ substitute rule.
There was no MOM award for ‘Rise’ as everyone played their heart and lungs out to gain a satisfying result against their neighbours from over the hedge.
The referee should also be mentioned for his handling of the game. Even though he was under considerable pressure at times he allowed the game to flow within the rules of the game.