Honiton Town title hopes hit by Newtown blow
PUBLISHED: 15:28 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 March 2017
Honiton Town suffered their first defeat of the Macron League season when beaten 4-1 at Mountbatten Park by title rivals Newtown.
Just seven days before the Hippos had travelled to the Newton St Cyres home of Newtown and won 4-0. However, the return game saw the visitors pitch up with a game plan they carried out to the letter to which Town had no answer.
The opening exchanges were as tight as you would expect in a contest with so much riding on the outcome – a Town win would have put seven points between the teams with the matches running out, whilst an away win would see the gap between the teams back to the one point it was before the first meetings even days before.
The opening goal came when the ball was touched home from close range during a goal mouth scramble.
What proved ultimately to be a ‘game changer’ was a red card issued to Aidan Barrett who reacted to some meaty provocation!
That left Town having to play the final hour of the contest a man light, and Newtown made their numerical advantage pa.
The Hippos did get to half-time still just the one goal down, but an early second half strike left Town two down only for Joe Mulhall to swiftly halve the arrears.
As Town threw men forward ion search of an equaliser they were picked off on the counter as Newtown sealed the points with two further goals.
Hippos boss Kev Blackwell said: “Ultimately is was a day of huge frustration for the lads.
“We were never really able to get into our stride. That said, lets give credit where it is due and they [Newtown] had clearly thought abut what had happened seven days before for they had a plan that they executed to perfection.”
Blackwell continued: “I am not going to use the red card as the sole reason for the defeat, but when you are a man down against quality opposition it means you have to work extra hard and there’s always going to be the extra area of space on the pitch for the other side.
“The pitch was heavy, and, whilst it was obviously the same for both sides, we were a man light for two-thirds of the contest.
“Our season will not be defined by this one result. Far from it! We remain top, albeit by a single point and that does mean that our destiny remains in our own hands.
“On the plus side, being hit with a first defeat of the season in mid-March speaks volumes for the season the lads have put together. It remains a season that could yet go on and be a historic one for us all. The old footballing adage is never more apt than now, that being that you gauge the top sides on how they react to adversity. Adversity for us is a 4-1 deafest to Newtown and I will be looking form, and hoping to see, the sort of reaction that proves we are a quality outfit.”
The next game for Honiton Town is Saturday’s mouth-watering fixture with the third of the teams battling to lift the macron league Premier Division title, Elmore. Kick-off at Horsdon Park, Tiverton is 3pm and no doubt a lot of Hippos followers will be in Mid Devon to cheer the side on.
Macron League Premier Division table as it stands before matches on Saturday, March 25
P W D L GD Pts
Honiton Town 22 17 4 1 61 55
Newtown 22 18 0 4 37 54
Elmore 20 16 0 4 44 48
Remaining games for the three title chasing teams:
Honiton Town last six
March 11 March 25 A Elmore; April 1 A Beer Albion; April 8 H Clyst Valley; April 15 H Elmore; April 22 H Beer Albion; and to be arranged H Exmouth Amateurs.
Newtown last six
March 11 March 25 H Seaton Town; April 19 H Okehampton; April 22 H Feniton; April 26 H Bow; April 29 H Beer Albion and to be arranged A Okehampton.
Elmore last eight
March 25 H Honiton Town; April 1 H Seaton Town; April 8 H Exmouth Amateurs; April 15 A Honiton Town; April 17 H Clyst Valley; April 22 A Heavitree United and to be arranged: A Bow and H Feniton.