Fifty-eight seconds was all it took for Exmouth Town FC to announce that they had truly arrived back on the Western League scene with the opening goal against Bridport last Saturday, writes John Dibsdall.
With a crowd in excess of 200 basking in the sunshine, Jordan Harris took full advantage of a deflected pass to drive through two defenders before calmly slotting the ball home.
To their credit, Bridport responded well to the setback and were on level terms with 12 minutes played; a well-struck drive from the edge of the penalty area finding the bottom corner.
Thereafter, Town gradually took control and Harris again gave them the lead after 28 minutes with a snap shot that deceived the visiting custodian.
Town had to make a substitution after 36 minutes with Jimmy Hinds unable to continue following a couple of hard challenges with Max Gilbert replacing him.
This move pushed Jamie Richards into midfield and his all-action display, as he drove the side forward in the second half, deservedly won him the Bradford’s Man of the Match award.
Straight from the restart, Town had shouts for a penalty for handball turned away, but were not to be denied and added a third goal on 59 minutes.
Ben Steer raced clear and – while his initial shot was saved by the ‘keeper’s legs – the ball rebounded to hit a defender desperately rushing back and was turned into his own goal.
After 72 minutes, a good move between Aarron Denny and Richards ended with the latter crossing and another defender turning the ball into his own net from where Town coasted to a satisfying 4-1 opening day victory.
Interestingly, this was a similar score line to last season’s opening game at Elburton Villa.
This Saturday (August 10) Exmouth Town FC are in Emirates FA Cup action when Southern League Barnstaple Town are the visitors to Southern Road (3pm) for an extra preliminary round tie.
Our Devon rivals do not start their league campaign until the following Saturday (August 17), and have looked to strengthen their squad during the close season.
The winners of the tie receive £2,250, with the losers picking up £750. The winners then travel to Yate Town on August 24. If Saturday’s match is drawn, the replay will be at Barnstaple on Tuesday August 13.
Town will have Ace High back following his one-match suspension and Adam Bilcock, who missed the Bridport game through illness, should also be available.
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