Winkleigh 3 - Sandford 2
ON Saturday, November 11, after weeks of bad weather, Sandford FC First team travelled westward to play Winkleigh First team in a return fixture having lost to them at home on the first day of the season 2 - 3.
On a sloping pitch covered in autumn leaves Sandford kicked off playing down the hill.
Winkleigh who are second in the league, and had not had a goal scored against them in six games, went on the attack.
Three minutes in and the home side hit a shot which cannoned off the post.
After eight minutes another Winkleigh attack was ruled offside by the Sandford linesman, which didn't do a lot for the anger of the home players and their supporters.
Midfielder Adam Billcock had a shot deflected at 11 minutes, which was goal bound, then seven minutes later a Sandford attack saw frontrunner Owen Gregory beat the Winkleigh centre back and side the ball under the advancing goalkeeper for a goal (0-1).
This brought the away side more into the game, all the time the ground was getting heavier and heavier, which was sapping the energy of both teams.
On 35 minutes a Sandford defender brought an opponent down just outside the box, the home side appealed for a penalty, but the free kick given came to nothing.
Then just before the break Winkleigh headed home to make the scores 1-1 after a Sandford defender was booked for a bad tackle and the home side’s right back was booked for verbally abusing the Sandford linesman.
Before half-time Sandford captain Darren Hughes made the score 2-1.
The second half started with Sandford playing up the slope and on 46 minutes they shot over the bar, on 49 minutes Winkleigh equalised 2-2.
Then on 52 minutes Sandford were reduced to 10 men when, after returning to the team after a lay-off, Chris Hawkes playing out of position at right fullback brought an opponent down and was shown a red card.
This incensed the home side to the point where the whole team including their keeper surrounded the referee and their opponents, this was not a pretty sight and one we can do without in amateur football.
The game resumed with Sandford under a lot of pressure as Winkleigh went looking for the winner.
Then on 61 minutes Tudor Morgan-Hugget, playing on the right wing, was hacked down after the whistle had gone.
He was then substituted, which brought on Steven Dymond, to play on the left side.
Sandford players battled on bravely under immense pressure with some dour defending and some poor finishing, Owen Gregory was brought off after running himself into the ground and young Greg Mildon came on.
As the match reached full-time Sandford still holding to their deserved point the referee added three minutes of extra time.
Then just before the end Winkleigh scored and secured all three points.
If nothing else Sandford players can be proud of the way they battled - their reward will come. The score on the final whistle was 3-2.
On Saturday (November18) the First team are home to Colyton First team with a 2.15pm kick-off.
The second team travelled to South Devon on Saturday, November 11 to play Totnes and Darlington in their rearranged cup fixture.
After being 1-0 down at half-time they finally went down 3-0.
Another gallant effort so far from home.
The following Saturday they return to league action away to Beacon Knights in Exeter with 2-15pm kick-off.
Good luck to both teams.
A J H