Hippos rising as Eagles have wings clipped

PUBLISHED: 20:24 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 20:24 29 October 2018

Honiton Town away at Budleigh. Ref mhsp 43 18TI 3420. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton Town away at Budleigh. Ref mhsp 43 18TI 3420. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton Town defied the odds to record the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division result of the day – and arguably the result of the season to date – as they became only the second team to defeat table-topping Elmore, beating the Tiverton-based side 3-2 before another large turnout at Mountbatten Park.

It was the returning Tim Genders who starred for the Hippos and he deservedly lifted the post match star player award as determined by Joe Gamblin from Chippie Joes.

Genders created the opening goal when he first robbed an Elmore player of the ball, then showed a clean pair of heels to another before crossing for Rikki Pitter to tuck the ball home to give Town an early lead.

The home pressure continued and it was no more than the Hippos deserved when skipper Ben Ede curled home a delightful strike from 25-yards to see his side go two up – and all within eight minutes of the kick-off!

Elmore showed just why they have been top since the opening games of the season and they refused to sit back and accept a shock defeat. They increased the tempo of their game, but the Town back line – and, in particular, impressive goalkeeper Alex Bowring who made some superb saves during the 90 minutes – were equal to the very best that the visiting Eagles could offer.

However, the resistance was eventually breached and half-time arrived with the Town lead reduced to one goal, at 2-1.

The start of the second half saw a concerted effort from the table-toppers to get back on level terms. However, Town continued to threaten on the break and were a whisker away from a third goal when a Genders strike rolled the wrong side of the upright!

Elmore, with the experienced Jamie Mudge a constant threat, duly struck again and all the visiting supporters must have then ‘expected’ their side to go on and win the game.

Town clearly had other ideas and it really was no more than they deserved when the alert Genders pounced on a goalkeeping error and applied the most composed of finishes to seal a 3-2 win for the Hippos.

Town boss Kev Blackwell said: “What with the gloom of a midweek derby defeat at Sidmouth, a number of injured bodies and already stretched resources at the club, I simply must place on record my sincere thanks to second team boss Andrew ‘Fish’ Pike and third team boss Daz Pike for their unstinting support going into this game. Facing Elmore was always going to be a tough ask given the obvious quality in their ranks, but the lads were truly magnificent. The players quite literally gave their absolute all and it was no fluke score line or result. The team certainly deserved to leave the pitch as winners on Saturday afternoon.”

He continued: “Being the match winner was fully justified for Tim [Genders], who worked so hard across the 90 minutes. His performance inspired others around him while Tom Perryman covered every inch of the pitch getting in tackles and blocks and making life generally uncomfortable for Elmore’s defenders – yes, the whole performance was a joy from a managerial perspective.”

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