After ten weeks without a game, the reserves returned to action with a 4-0 defeat away at the table topping University team they had comfortably beaten earlier in the year. Much has changed since then with what has become a season long exodus of players, but the remaining players put in a spirited and determined performance, before the University’s greater resources made a difference in the last twenty minutes.
With resources stretched to the limit, Howey made his long awaited return to action in a slightly unfamiliar center-forward position while a couple of players around him were nursing injuries, and a few more using the game as the start to running of the Christmas excess. However, the University struggled to create any clear cut chances in the first half with their only glimpse at goal being a shot from distance in the last minute of the half which struck the outside of the post.
The disciplined display carried on into the second half although the fatigue was clearly starting to have an impact and the number of players not limping started to become the minority. Young Mr Howe even managed a shot on goal and Cullompton did have a handful of freekicks in dangerous positions, although as the half went on the University were the side starting to create clear chances.
With 20 minutes to go a smart move led to a pullback from the goal line and the University went a goal up. What was an uphill battle had suddenly become an ascent of Everest, but Cullompton still had one card to play with Dave Hawes stepping off the bench. It quickly went to 2-0.
General fatigue was leading to some creative new positions being taken on the pitch, and mental fatigue made a strong contribution to the last two University goals. The best team clearly won on the day, but it was a spirited display by a Cullompton side who will be all the better for the run-out as the season is finally back up and running.