Ottery St Mary Football Club sit seven points clear at atop the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League South and West league after a 5-0 success at South Devon-based outfit Lakeside.
What’s more, a fourth successive clean sheet means that the Otters have now played seven hours and 13 minutes since they last conceded a goal.
Matt Webb scored a hat-trick in the victory.
Ottery goalkeeper Jacob O’Callaghan last picked the ball out of the back of the net in the 13th minute of the teams September 26 home game against the Plymouth Argyle FITC Development XI.
This latest success was summed up by Ottery boss Billy Rouse who said: “At Lakeside we dished up our best team performance of the season to date.
“We had to travel without a number of players, but the lads who came in did a great job.”
Ottery travelled without the injured Liam Carey and player-boss Billy Rouse was another who could not play owing to injury – though he was of course, present in the technical area.
The Otters were also without leading scorer Pete Grover and Connor Hannaford, who were both unavailable and it meant that Mike Benyon, Jack Hobday and Riki Pitter all stepped up from the Washbrook Meadows second team.
Manager Rouse said: “The fact that three lads can step up from the second team and the balance of the team remains unaffected, speaks volumes for the strength in depth we now enjoy at the club.
“It certainly makes a manager’s task that little bit easier when he has, readily available to him, the sort of lads we do who happily step up and step in – and make everything seamless in terms of the team performs.”
It was one of the three players asked to step up from the second team, Mike Benyon, who provided the assist for the opening goal, scored with aplomb by Luca Nickles.
It then became the Matt Webb show as he scored twice before the break and then completed his hat-trick early in the second half.
Webb’s first came after a fine pass from openings corer Nickles and the third Ottery goal was certainly one of those Ben Lawrence started the move with a surging run that took him through a number of challenges.
He then the passed the ball to Jordan Burrows and it was his first-time pass that found Benyon and Danny Pym was also involved before the ball arrived at the feet of Webb who rifled it home to send Ottery into half-time with a 3-0 advantage.
The flow of the game was unchanged after the break with Ottery enjoying the great share of possession and always looking likely to add further goals.
Rikki Pitter and Jack Hobday were introduced from the bench and it was Pitter who played a pivotal part in the fourth goal for it was he who drew a foul in the area and Webb tucked away the penalty to complete his hat-trick.
The fifth and final Ottery goal was created by Dan Gill and finished, in style, by Hobday with a 20-yard strike that gave the home glovesman no chance.
It was not all one-way, but yet again, the organised and disciplined Ottery defensive line in front of goalkeeper O’Callaghan did their work effectively to shut-out the home side.
The back line in front of Otters glovesman ‘shut-out king’ O’Callaghan did their job and the Otters march on at the top of the table.
Next up for the Otters is this Saturday’s (October 24) Washbrook Meadow meeting with Paignton Saints who climbed to fourth in the table after ending the Okehampton Argyle unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 home success.
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