Crusaders defeat 'U's
Report by Ron Tarry
As expected, the visitors put up a strong fight and had us struggling to keep them out near the end, but two well-struck first half goals had given us the advantage and we were able to hold on to claim the points. With Tiverton drawing at Mangotsfield, we thus increased our lead at the top of the table to 4 points, although Poole now three games in hand and several teams are within striking distance. We are less than a third of the way through the league programme and there is therefore still a long way to go.
We had an early chance, but skipper Luke Carnell headed off the line and James Foster saved well when Mark Draycott got in a good shot, but far too many passes were going astray and there were more groans than cheers from the supporters on a chilly evening. We wasted a couple of corners with poor flag kicks, but we eventually got one right after 34 minutes when Sean Wood played the ball to Matt Day, who was well outside the penalty area, but he kept up his recent run of goals with a marvellous volley which gave Foster no chance. As halftime approached, we made it 2-0 when Ben Pugh struck home a terrific free kick from well over 25 yards, another example of our ability to score goals without playing particularly well.
Pugh broke through early in the second half, but lost control when he had a great chance, but he was unlucky when Foster deflected a great shot over the bar to prevent another goal. The visitors had not given up and began to put us under more and more pressure, but a good Paul Strudley save and a header wide by Carl Self, plus some desperate defending managed to keep the score-sheet clean as we recorded another valuable win.