The reserve team beat Chagford 2 nil in a tightly contested game at home. It’s that time of year when it’s rare to get a fully fit and fresh team, and the attitude was key in picking up another 3 points against a side confident from consecutive victories.
Cullompton started well, but the final ball and finish was lacking in stark contrast to the prior week’s 7 nil first half lead. As the half went on the quality dipped and a defensive reshaping was required when Jamie Stone picked up an injury half an hour in. His centre back partner, Ryan Clarke, looked little better after losing a stone due to sickness in the week, but was still comfortably more healthy than joint manager Alex Howe, doing his best Casper impersonation on the bench after a heavy works Christmas party.
Still, Cullompton looked solid enough but were creating less chances against a side they had only scored from set pieces in their 2 all draw earlier in the season.
40 minutes in and Cullompton made the most of a rare set piece, with Jamie Cottrell swivelling to rifle home a left foot finish. Chagford stepped up the pressure before half time, but struggled to create chances.
The second half continued in the same tone to the first – Cullompton intermittently dangerous, but struggling to get the important second goal. That all changed 15 minutes in when the Chagford keeper decided to give a helping hand by throwing the ball into the goal when it would have been easier to do anything else. Cotts claimed that one as well. Although so did Luke and the injured Stoney probably had as good a shout from the bench. But definitely not Howie who was struggling to stand up, let alone score.
The last 25 minutes were dull for a neutral, as Cullompton shut up shop and started running the ball to the corner with over 10 minutes to go. Not the most exciting, but as Chagford pushed more men forward they struggled to get out of their half and the chances continued to fall to Cullompton.
In fact, with Aaron Marks’ clean handling and sweeping, it’s difficult to remember a Chagford shot at goal, although the game was much less comfortable than that sounds.
All in all, a very important performance against a good team in challenging conditions and a vital three points. Howie also demonstrated a great example to the young players that alcohol is bad for you – don’t do it kids!
FINAL SCORE: Cullompton Rangers 2 – 0 Chagford
Match Report by Dave Hawes