The Reserve team took a much needed 3 points in a comfortable win at Witheridge, lifting them away from the equal second from bottom position they started the day in. Witheridge were 11 points ahead in the league, but as with the game earlier in the season Cullompton were dominant throughout, but this time were able to turn their superiority into goals.
The Witheridge warm-up looked off the pace and Cullompton took control from the first minute. Solid in defence with both full backs offering a threat going forwards, Cullompton had a good base to operate from and started to dominate in midfield while looking threatening in attack. It didn’t take long for the first goal – James was sent through on the goalkeeper but rather than attempt to score he decided to miss the ball, perhaps trying to recreate the Pele dummy against Uruguay of 1970. However, as long time readers of these match reports will recall James’ requirement of falling over whenever he shoots left him off his feet and unable to make the most of the opportunity. At this point he strengthened the theory that he is able to start a fight almost anywhere with anything by commencing a vicious assault on the pitch. With the Witheridge defenders put off by the sight of James giving the pitch a good thrashing as well as Aaron’s accompanying booming laughter from off the pitch, Oli was able to calmly slot the ball between defenders and goalkeeper to take a 1-0 lead.
1 soon become 2 when both defence and attack decided to disregard the common football approach of trying to attack a corner ball with everyone trying to leap out of the way. Owen Buxton was slightly less successful in getting away from the ball and despite his best efforts the ball hit his ‘chest’, thigh and shin before rolling over the line for 2-0. Any chance of a comeback was setback minutes later when former Cullompton Ranger Dan Greening was sent off for a raised elbow, and after just 15 minutes the game looked over.
Witheridge worked hard to stay in touch, particularly in the second half where they defended well and were only one goal away from making a game of it despite being a man down for so long. This was even more impressive as to say Cullompton’s pace out wide and up top was slightly ahead of theirs would be similar to saying that Mother Teresa was slightly nicer than Putin.
With Witheridge defending deep and well there is little to report about the remaining 75 minutes. Matt Turner managed to pick up a booking for time wasting when 2-0 up against 10 men with an hour to go when he scooped the ball that was already out of play over the fence and into the field, which may well be a first. Woody also threatened with an excellent drive late on after being set-up by an excellent touch by the impressive young centre forward who came on for the last 15 minutes. With the season nearing an end this was an important result that gives the reserves a great opportunity to avoid relegation with two big games coming up against teams who are next to them in the league.