Boxing Day Derby
Hippos travelled to The Tigers
After a long break from our previous game, we faced a tough and motivated Axminster side who due to the previous weeks results found themselves at the top of the league. The break didn't do us too many favours and having our first game in three weeks at an 11:00am kick off on boxing day tested the commitment and resolve of the Hippo's and perhaps how many mince pies had been consumed the previous day would also be a test of a different kind.
Have to say I was impressed that so many of the lads were so committed, especially given the demands that families and friends can put the lads under. A slight shift in personnel and a renewed optimism set the lads about their task with renewed vigour. We knew it was going to be tough game, made tougher without current skipper Ben Ede and Darren Witt at the heart of the defence. It was a game very much contested in the middle of midfield, which Joe Dixon, Chris Long and Aaron Doble tackled with relish and done their part on imposing their game at Tiger Way.
We felt the longer we stayed in the game then chances would come our way, the deadlock was broken with the Axminster defender losing his marker to deftly guide the ball with his head with a lovely finish. It took us into the half time break, a goal down, but I felt that the lads competed very well and could certainly be proud of their efforts.
I asked for more of the same in the second half, and the lads delivered! - Again I felt that the lads were in the game and good value. I perhaps that we perhaps didn't get the rub of the green at times, but the lads didn't get to despondent about that and kept to the task in hand. A further goal came when the Axminster striker ghosted in between two defenders to slot the ball home with a calm and clever finish.
The lads couldnt have given me any more - and its reassuring they gave another one of the top teams in the league a tough game, and hopefully the Axminster lads realised that they had been in a tough game. Understandably there were a few tired legs and one or two rusty performances, but overall I was extremely pleased with not only the effort and work ethic, but more importantly the attitude which was first class. We are extremely close from turning a massive corner with the lads and the team and I am confident we can build as we go into our last game of 2018 with yet another big game and massive challenge verses current champions St Martins
Joe Gamblin from Chippy Joes had an extremely tough choice of naming his Man of the Match - it was a close call between the back 3 of Andy Isaac, Luke Phillips and the eventual pick Lewis Couch.
By Kev Blackwell