Hatherleigh FC Soccer match against Axminster Jan 14th 2006
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Axminster v Hatherleigh Town
Jan 14th 2006

Hatherleigh (1)1 Axminster (1)2

Our match reporter wrote: "Luck was not the name of the game for Hatherleigh in this match which was played in front of one of the biggest crowds this season. Unfortunately they didn't see a win for Town. Axminster, playing in Hull City colours and nicknamed the Tigers after their sponsors, were 2-1 winners.

"Hatherleigh were the first to celebrate with an excellent Bryant free kick on 30 minutes which went to Reynolds whose left foot stab sailed into the net. Up to then it was an even affair with no real points to note.

"As Town fans were still celebrating Axminster pushed up and scored, on 31 minutes, a goal into Toop's right hand corner, which many thought Gary had saved. Half time: Hatherleigh 1-1 Axminster.

"5 minutes after the restart the killer blow hit Town, as the ball hit a home defender to plunge pass Toop to make it 1-2.

"On 52 minutes Davies replaced James. Two great saves on 55-58 minutes kept Town in the game. Dymond should have scored just after this when put through by Bryant.

"On 72 minutes an Axminster 1 on 1 scuttled just passed the post. Hatherleigh were now starting to push forward for the equaliser on a pitch which was cutting up in the middle following heavy rain. Woollacott replaced Cleave who had had a good game at right back, with Hatherleigh again trying hard for the goal they deserved.

"The third sub Bedford came on, with 5 minutes to go, for Endacott. Axminster were now playing five at the back to stop Hatherleigh from scoring.

"Another game in which Hatherleigh deserved a point."

Hatherleigh's team: Toop, Moore, Cleave, Bryant, Bruce, Reynolds, Endacott, Wonnacott, Dymond, Rice, James Subs: Bedford, Davies, Woollacott

We add: Looking back over the 10 months since we began to follow Town, the team has scaled tremendous heights and is generating a new self-esteem for the Town. It is taking on teams that less than 12 months ago would have squashed them. That is a tribute to everyone involved - management, players, back room staff and spectators. Although there was a low point over Xmas, the guys are back at full speed. (That cracking Reynolds goal was the high spot of this match for us. He's also a rock in defence. Bryant was effective both up front and farther back, and Rice's special talent shines.) Tackling is good, (particularly the 'flying ball trap' technique - but be careful!) and most of the weaknesses of early 2005 have gone (like tackling hip first!). Fitness is a lot better, motivation is good and committment to the ball is improving. The ability to keep fighting, even when fouled or on the ground, is excellent. Why, then, are Town still losing? Well, the difference between the two teams was small, but 1% is enough at this level to lose. So, either the boys have to try 2% harder or they have to eliminate the mistakes. Don't stop trying guys, and don't stop believing either, because you can and will do it. Work on those mistakes, particularly the tendency to pass softly in mid-field, inviting the intercept. Getting more people on the ball might help - our photos often show a lot more opposition in shot (we're not choosing our moments, honestly). And, are you loud enough?

Signed: an expert, after only 10 months ;-)

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

A challenge from Rice

Rice is free, but the goalie comes out a long way to stop the danger

A great clearance off the line with Toop stranded

It'll be hard to park cars soon if this keeps up!

A cracking shot from Bryant ... though well saved unfortunately

A bit fuzzy, but another great piece of action from Bryant

Yet another piece of action (see also below)
Soccer 101: Here's a sequence showing the percentage advantage of
not diving or stopping just because you've been fouled.

The Escape

The Chase

The Tackle

The Foul

The Stumble ... and the Claim of Innocence

The Recovery

The Extra Yard (er, Metre)

The Pass
Inexpert analysis: It would have been easy to fall and claim a foul. But the Referee was unsighted so the chances of success were probably low and might have given Axminster possession (plus lots for everyone to complain about in the bar afterwards). By staying put, the Ref might still call the foul, or play the advantage. Either way, Hatherleigh keeps possession.
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