Gleeson at the double as Ottery Under-13s net superb cup success
PUBLISHED: 08:28 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:28 08 May 2019
Ottery Under-13s created a little piece of Ottery St Mary FC history last weekend as they became the first youth team from the club to win the Exeter and District Youth League Cup.
In the final, played at the Ladysmead home of Southern League side Tiverton Town, the young Otters came from behind to edge out Exeter-based Panthers 2-1.
Backed by over 100 travelling supporters, the cup was won thanks to a brace of well-struck free-kicks from left-back Sam Gleeson and an impressive all-round team performance.
It was a strong Panthers side that started brightly and indeed, looked the more likely to carry off the silverware, forcing Ottery glovesman Jack Hembrow into a close range save after only 30 seconds!
Skipper Fin Lashbrook was called upon to make several blocks to keep his team in the game, playing alongside the steady centre-back Rowan Hewitt and the ever dependable Gleeson and Tom Bennett.
Ottery were taking their time to settle, but after 12 minutes leading scorer Finn Upsher went on a trademark run before squaring for midfielder Jake Blackmore, who just couldn't get a shot in on goal.
Jack Carpenter and Seb Copp were keeping the Panthers at bay in the centre of the pitch, putting in some solid tackles, aided by the flying Ollie Milton down the left wing.
Upsher was causing the Panthers problems down the left and it was his 15th minute shot that hit the side netting before, at the opposite end of the pitch, Hembrow showed great reactions to tip a Panthers shot around the post.
Panthers were starting to exert some pressure on the Ottery defence and, on the stroke of half-time took the lead when their tall striker nodded home a well taken corner.
After the break Ottery introduced tricky winger George Durham, but, five minutes into the second half, Man of the Match, Hembrow made a first class save with his outstretched leg to deny Panthers a second goal.
Upsher went close with another effort before, with 15 minutes remaining, Upsher was taken down just outside the box and full back Gleeson calmly stepped up to send the ball high into the net to level the scores.
Ottery boss Addy Carpenter sent on midfielder Will Reid to steady his ship and, with five minutes left, when another free-kick was awarded, Gleeson repeated the act to give his side the lead.
Panthers pushed forward in search of an equaliser and their frustration was compounded when one of their players picked up a late red card for dissent.
A clearly delighted Ottery boss, Addy carpenter, said: "The lads were class. For them to defeat the unbeaten league champions is a massive achievement. I am so proud!"