It was a case of ‘win/win/win’ for the Sidmouth Town Junior Vikings teams that were in action on the first Saturday of May.
We are grateful to Bryn Clapp for compiling the Vikings’ reports and getting them in to us.
Sidmouth Under-15s were 6-1 winners of their local derby at home to Colyton.
The game began at a frenetic pace with the Vikings looking to get the ball forward at every opportunity and, just five minutes in, the early efforts of the home team were rewarded by a fifth minute goal with the ‘assist’ down to Thomas Nichols and a calm finish applied by Will Pulman.
However, in keeping with the high tempo start the lead did not last long with Colyton drawing level with a fine goal.
The following 30 minutes saw end-to-end action before the game served up a third goal, with Nichols the scorer and the teams trooped off at the break with the Vikings holding a narrow 2-1 advantage.
The second half began as the first had ended. Colyton gave as good as they got, but the Vikings defence, and in particular, Adam Clinch, stood strong with some disciplined defending and, from this solid base, the Vikings were able to build continual momentum going forward.
Two goals in the space of three minutes saw Thomas Nichols to his hat-trick and put the Vikings into a 4-1 lead and this seemed to have a demoralising effect on the opposition.
The nett result of that was further punishment for the Colyton back line.
Pulman cut in from the right wing to net his second – this one a ‘trademark’ effort that resulted in the ball arrowing its way beyond the glovesman and into the far corner.
That made it five and it was soon six – and, fittingly, it was a polished finish that completed the scoring as Ben Elsom drilled a superb free kick that curled its way into the top corner!
In terms of the Vikings’ Man of the Match, that went to hat-trick scoring Thomas Nichols.
The Sidmouth Under-14s remain unbeaten this season, but they were made to work hard to retain their record by a strong Culm Sampford side that were eventually seen off by the odd goal in seven.
What made this latest success for the Vikings’ all the more impressive was the home side are also enjoying a dominant season – they had been beaten just the once prior to this meeting in Mid Devon.
In glorious sunshine, and on a superb surface, albeit with a significant slope, was ideal for a passing game.
The Vikings had travelled with their usual squad of 15 missing a number of players through a combination of injury and illness, were briefed, pre-match, about the need for them to be ‘at it’ from the first whistle and not to let what is considered a ‘physical presence’ from the hosts to intimidate them.
Alas, the words fell on deaf ears as the Vikings made what is now considered to be a ‘trademark’ customary slow start!
This enabled the home side to take control of the first 15 minutes, but, for all their early dominance of the ball, they were unable to turn greater possession into goals, though they did fashion a couple of ‘half chances’ that were dealt with confidently by Vikings’ Leo Gribble.
During the final 20 minutes of the first half, it was the Vikings who took a foothold in the contest, winning the second ball and with renewed confidence, began to play some attractive attacking football, but they too could not convert greater possession of the ball and territory into goals. The home goalkeeper made a number of fine saves and the half-time whistle blew with the game still seeking its opening goal.
During the interval, the Vikings’ coaching staff put across the need to keep winning ‘second balls’ and, with patience being the key, the goals would come.
It proved to be sound advice and, after great work by prolific front duo Alex Goody and Sid Ridgeway, the latter broke the deadlock with a shot that got the better of the home custodian before nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
However, the lead did not last long! Indeed, soon after going behind, the home side launched a left wing raid that ended with a delightful ball being ‘whipped’ into the box where a striker applied a clinical finish.
Being pegged back drew a superb response from Vikings and, minutes after parity being restored, they were once more in front and, as with the game’s opening goal, this too was scored from one of the front two -m this time by Alexander Goody.
Ridgeway and Goody continued to cause the home side all manner of problems and it was the Vikings midfield that were able to take advantage in terms of ‘finishing’ and Herbie Isherwood scored at the far post to make it 3-1.
Culm would not lie down though, and hit back with some equalling powerful attacking play, but they found the Vikings back three of George Burke, Reggie Reed and Ethan Cooke a tough nut to crack!
With 10 minutes remaining, had been superb and looked solid however with only 10 minutes remaining, the home side changed their style to one of ‘long ball’ using the slope to great effect.
The reduced the deficit to one goal with a ‘route-one’ finish Culm Sampford playing down the slope decided to change their style of football to the long ball game which they had obviously practiced in the past, it worked very well for them as they narrowed the lead to 3-2 when a huge kick from the keeper cleared the Sidmouth defence and their striker ran onto the ball before firing it home.
Buoyed by the goal, the home side then put together a slick left wing raid that resulted in a third goal – a sixth in the contest and, suddenly, honours were again even at 3-3!
Many a side might have decided to ‘shut up shop’ having been pegged back by a strong opposition, but the Vikings dug deep and showed real collective desire.
Their honesty and determination was duly rewarded when, with three minutes remaining, some great work in midfield saw the ball at the feet of James Plowden 20 yards from goal.
Plowden looked up and, spotting an ‘opportunity’ unleashed a right foot rocket which flew into the top right corner.
It was a strike worthy of winning a contest at any level and it also earned the Vikings a 4-3 success, one they richly deserved.
In what was a great all-round display, special mention must be made of the contribution of front two, Ridgway and Goody, who worked tirelessly and caused the home team problems throughout.
Such was the quality of the play – from both sides – that the league appointed referee congratulated both teams after the whistle and said it was the best game of football he has ever taken charge of!
Sidmouth Town Under-13 Warriors were 5-2 winners when they entertained Seaton Town.
After a high tempo and competitive first 15 minutes, the Warriors opened the scoring.
The goal originated with a smart save by Warriors goalkeeper Archie Buttle who then speedily released the ball to a free-running Archie Melville Hallett and he applied a clinical finish.
The same player struck again to complete the first half scoring and send Warriors into the break with a 2-0 lead.
After the break the visiting side looked to find a way back into the game, but they were unable to get the better of the impressive Warriors defence.
At the other end of the pitch a third Warriors goal arrived when, following a determined weaving run, Lucas Vicary was fouled in the area and he picked himself up and tucked away the spot kick.
The fourth goal was a spectacular strike from Alistair Mounoury.
Seaton hit back with a goal of their own, but Warriors had the final say with Archie Melville Hallett finishing what he started, completing his hat-trick after excellent approach play from impressive midfielder Lucas O’Connor.
Special mention goes to new signing Tyler Charmers who put in a solid performance and to Lucas O’Connor, who won the midfield battle against strong Seaton opposition.
It was O’Connor who bagged himself the Warriors’ Man of the Match award.