The Reserve team signed off for the season with a comfortable 8-1 home victory against a Dawlish team that had clearly already started their summer holidays. The chances of a competitive game looked slim before it had even begun – one of their players had to borrow a pair of boots so they could field 11, and the Dawlish warm up consisted of a 30 minute penalty shootout.
The game started as it would continue – with Dawlish sitting deep and Cullompton having plenty of space to knock the ball about. If anything there was too much time, but when the ball was moved wide quickly in the 8th minute, Lewie ‘right wing’ Farrant knocked in his first good cross of the season which was met by a perfectly timed run and excellent header by Audie.
The dominance continued although the occasional long ball threatened to catch Cullompton napping. The second goal came in the 23rd minute when Dan Nation did well to play the ball back to Dan Horler who confidently placed his finish into the top corner from outside the area – two excellent goals.
To be honest the rest of the goals were a bit of a blur – I think it was 3 at half time and certainly 8 at full time. The Dawlish goalkeeper fluctuated between awesome (whenever someone hit a great finish) and awful (anything straight at him). Cotts, Tom and Horler had a competition of who could miss the most chances, and whoever won would have exceeded the total goal count. Cotts finished with two goals and Tom just the one, which would be respectable on a normal day but only at the Jamie Stone level on this day.
Stoney’s goal was particularly bizarre – he was about to come off as he limped around his area, but then seeing the ball break he managed to recover fitness, run the length of the pitch, and score a goal. He managed to complete the game after this miraculous recovery, and almost notched a second when he curled one effort onto the bar from the edge of the area – it was that kind of game.
The Dawlish goal came from a good run and a horribly sliced cross that dropped into the goal. The farce continued as one of the Dawlish players strolled off with 20 minutes remaining to ‘go home’.
I recall several years back when Southampton were getting their annual hammering at Old Trafford and at 3 nil down with 20 minutes left had to face the fresh legs of Beckham, Scholes and Giggs coming on. The look of fear seen on those Southampton players was something similar to the horror on the Dawlish players faces as James, Joe and Dave came on in the last quarter. All assisted goals, including a called nutmeg in the box which allowed Audie to complete his triple. It was a quality way to go out for a quality player, with Audie moving away in the summer. As with anyone whose played senior football for a number of years I’ve been lucky enough to play with and against a number of top quality players. Audie has some unique qualities on the pitch which I haven’t seen in any other player, and I can honestly say it’s been an absolute honour to have spent the few minutes on the pitch with him which I have – all the best for the future mate.
It was interesting to see young Dave Hawes’ interpretation of right back, which was even further forward than Lewie’s, after 80 minutes of telling the team to build on a solid defence. He clearly interpreted his own advice as attack being the best form of defence.
All in all its been a great season for the reserves, particularly after a poor start. That’s a tribute to tremendous character shown throughout the season by the players, who’ve conducted themselves as well off the pitch as they have on it. It’s also a result of the fantastic support given from all around the club – playing at Woodbury made it very clear how fortunate we are to have such great facilities and people at the club. And it has felt like a club this year, with the two senior teams supporting each other well.
A great season and solid foundations to build on for next year. Many thanks for everyone involved and everybody who has made significant contributions both on and off the pitch over season. See you all at pre season.
FINAL SCORE: Cullompton Rangers 8 – 1 Dawlish
Match Report by Dave Hawes