What a difference a week makes in football, writes Exmouth Town Football Club president John Dibsdall.
Last week it was a tale of two 2-0 defeats; a loss in our first league game and an exit from the FA Cup.
This week a superb 4-1 home league win over our Devon rivals,Tavistock, and then a nail-biting penalty shoot-out success in the FA Vase against Mousehole from the South West Peninsula League.
The Vase tie produced excellent play from both sides, plenty of goalmouth action, but it was missing just one important ingredient: goals.
The visitors, making their first appearance in the FA Vase started brightly with plenty of possession, but it was Town who began to create the better chances.
Jordan Harris brought an excellent save, although any ‘goal’ would have been ruled out for offside and, after 15 minutes, Ace High saw his initial effort cleared off the line and the follow-up shot saved.
Four minutes later another Harris effort brought a flying fingertip save and Aarron Denny then created space for himself but shot wide.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Mousehole quickly out of the blocks and from one dangerous cross the final shot was straight at Robbie Powell.
Play continued to be from end to end but neither side could produce that killer blow.
With Tom Gardner unavailable due to work commitments and David Rowe sitting on the sidelines nursing a broken toe from the Tavistock game, Exmouth were forced into a new central defensive pairing and both Max Gillard and Dan Cullen were equal to the task against a very speedy and mobile front line.
There can be fine margins in football and both sides created chances where the final ball was just inches away from being perfect.
As the clocked ticked down, thoughts turned to the penalty shoot-out with there being no extra time or replays in this season’s competition.
But whilst the ultimate drama was to come, with three minutes remaining Powell had to produce a superb save and then a header from High set Harris clear, but he was denied by the keeper’s legs.
In added time Town did have the ball in the net, but the flag had already been raised and so to penalties.
Mousehole took the first penalty and the first three from both sides were scored with Gillard, Mark Lever and Harris successful for Town.
Powell then made a fine save allowing Denny to put Town in front.
And with another excellent save Powell ensured Town were in the next round when a trip to Sherborne Town awaits on October 10.
First league win for Exmouth Town over Tavistock
Against Tavistock last Wednesday, Town started brightly and High produced a fine save with just seven minutes played.
On 18 minutes they were ahead, a deep cross from Gillard was nodded down by Harris and High fired home from 12 yards.
Three minutes later and Harris took full advantage of a defensive error to double the lead.
Another fine move involving Denny and Ben Steer presented Harris with his second as Town went into the break three goals to the good.
As you would expect from a good side that were top of the league when last season ended prematurely, Tavistock started to create chances and pulled a goal back on 72 ,minutes.
But Exmouth were not to be denied and when Dean Billingsly robbed the full-back his cross was perfect for Harris to complete his hat-trick and seal a richly deserved victory.
There were over 200 for the Tavistock game and in excess of 250 for the Vase tie with Mousehole being well supported and staying long after the final whistle.
The atmosphere was special with everyone respecting the extra precautions that are now in place for every game and that are extremely well-managed by the club both in terms of track and trace and social distancing within the clubhouse and around the pitch.
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