The reserve team had one of their most satisfying results of the season with a hard fought 4-1 win at Heavitree.
‘Fought’ was certainly true for much of the game as Cullompton delivered a highly disciplined performance in the face of extreme provocation and astonishingly lenient refereeing which saw some horrendous challenges flying in amidst the Heavitree undergrowth.
In tough conditions Cullompton competed from the start, looking to win each ball, support each other and communicating well. The first goal was a good summary of what had gone before, with positive sharp communication and movement from Tom Broome and Dan Horler combining for a well worked throw and early cross. Max Cooper made a well timed run and was first to the ball, lifting it over the keeper and finishing smartly for a well taken goal.
As the poor challenges started to fly Cullompton won a free kick just in Heavitree’s half following a horrific assault on Dan Horler. When the ball arrived in the box what seemed like a clear penalty was awarded before the referee reversed his decision. After discussing with the club linesman who had a worse view. Many were bewildered, including the referee, who admitted that he’d seen no foul and was surprised by the linesman’s quite random call.
The game progressed with Heavitree offering little from open play but plenty from set pieces which were cumulating needlessly in the Cullompton half. It looked like another goal before half time could be important, and on cue another early cross came in and this time Luke Abrahams was first to the ball and finished well.
For the second half the ‘next goal is important’ cliché was in full use and Tom Broome tapped in to make it three nil. Actually, to be fair it was a less a tap and more a 30 yard screamer into the top corner which topped off a strong performance from Tom.
Hope was offered for Heavitree when a well taken penalty made it 3-1 and a a game of football threatened to break out between the acts of violence. It looked like Cullompton’s three goal cushion was going to be restored when Jamie Cottrell raced through on goal but the linesman bought it back for ‘offside’. Despite Cotts being 5 yards inside his own half. Not the worst decision of the match, but not the best.
When the offside trap was beaten Horler was there to take advantage for a well deserved goal at the end of an impressive performance. Indeed there were 11 impressive performances, but the best was probably how the team combined as a unit.
Although it’s a pity to see the modern day version of ‘old fashioned British football’ which is centred less around hard but fair challenges and more about cheap cowardly attempts to injure the opponent, Cullompton dealt with it very well against some weak officiating. An excellent and highly satisfactory 3 points taking the side within touching point of second place.
FINAL SCORE: Heavitree 2nds 1 – 4 Cullompton Rangers
Match Report by Dave Hawes