Honiton Town net point thanks to Dingle debut goal
PUBLISHED: 15:30 08 January 2019
Honiton Town were good value for the point they banked from a 2-2 Mountbatten Park draw with Ilfracombe on the first Saturday of 2019.
Prior to the fixture, Town boss Kev Blackwell and his assistant Nick Ogden were faced with some selection headaches that left them having to disappoint a number of players who had performed so well the week before when stepping up to help when general availability had been poor.
Town boss Blackwell said: “It was tough, particularly on a couple of the lads who really had done little wrong when they stepped up from the club’s second team. We were also in the position whereby we had a substitutes bench full of players itching to get involved in the action!”
Ilfracombe arrived at Mountbatten Park seeking a league double over the Hippos after they won the August meeting in North Devon 3-1. They started with a high tempo to their game and struck twice early on to leave the home side very much on the back foot.
However, just as they had done in their previous outing when falling behind early on, the Town management tweaked their tactics and made some positional changes and, once again, it worked a treat!
A long free-kick into a crowded area was met by a soaring leap from centre back Darren Witt and, when the ball dropped, Aaron Doble made sure by forcing the ball over the line from close range.
The goal meant half-time arrived with the Hippos trailing 2-1 and, during the interval, Blackwell and Ogden urged their team to play the ‘patient game’, trust each other and the chances would surely come.
Indeed, the home faithful did not have long to wait as, early in the second half, Liam Dingle marked his first start for the Hippos with a cool finish.
The remainder of the contest proved to be a close encounter as both sides pressed for a third – and potentially winning – goal.
However, a fifth goal was not forthcoming and both sides will no doubt feel a draw was a fair outcome.
Town boss Blackwell said: “I think that, perhaps because both Chris Long and Lewis Couch play at such a high and consistent level, their performances are often overlooked. However, the pair were superb throughout.
“I would also like to highlight two of the young lads that we have at the club, Blake Freemantle and Jack de Winton, who each gave very mature performances. The pair both have first-class attitudes.”
Joe Gamblin from ‘Chippie Joes’ was once again tasked with the tough choice of naming his Man of the Match, and he went for goal-scoring debutant Liam Dingle, who did produce a terrific performance.
On his side’s point, Blackwell said: “I do feel that this can be a very important point for us. Once again we have shown great character and resolve to bounce back from adversity.
“It’s disappointing that we don’t have a game now until January 18 and the game at Brixham, but it is what it is and we shall train between now and then and look to produce more of the same in South Devon later this month.”