SWPL EAST Ivybridge Town 3 Ottery St Mary 1

IVYBRIDGE Town maintained their South West Peninsula League East challenge with a 3-1 home win over Ottery St Mary at Erme Valley.

It was the sixth successive league win for Ivybridge, who were third in the East Division table with 27 points from 13 matches, four points behind leaders Okehampton.

The latest success came despite the setback of going a goal down in the seventh minute when a shot from Ottery’s James Fanson took a crucial deflection off a defender to wrong foot Kane Gregory in the home goal.

Ivybridge bounced back two minutes later following a corner on the left when leading scorer Ollie Aplin got the final touch to a goal bound header by Harrison Harvey-Searle to claim his eighth goal of the season.

Ivybridge then controlled much of the second half and they wrapped up victory with two goals in the space of two minutes.

Luke Forward made it 2-1 in the 69th minute with his third goal in as many matches and Curtis Legrice rounded off a well worked move to complete the scoring two minutes later.

Ivybridge manager Darren Stewart took heart from the fact that his team extended their winning run against one of the stronger teams in the division, saying: “That’s six wins in a row but we have had teams lower in the table in three or four games, which we would be expected to win.

“Ottery have had some good results and were top of the table in recent weeks, so we knew it would be a tough test against them.

“They were very strong physically with some good pace in wide areas. The first half was about having a good look at them and trying to match their intensity and stay in the game. They set up really well and played pretty deep. We could not find a way through, so we were quite happy to come in at 1-1.

“We made a few adjustments at half time in terms our patterns of play We felt that their intensity would run out of steam, and we would get chances in the end. That proved bang on. We were pretty dominant in the second half and could have added a couple more goals to be honest.”

Stewart took the opportunity of giving a run-out to three of his younger squad members during the second half, sending on Callum Merrin, Harvey Tomlinson and Jacob Bowker.

He explained: “We had three young attacking players on the bench, and we introduced them at the right time. Callum came on after an hour to replace Harry Jeffery, who had done well. Then we brought on Harvey, with his pace and work rate, and Jacob, which gave us a little bit more energy in the final 15 or 20 minutes.”

Ivybridge now have a clear week until their next fixture, which is at home to Torrington in the second round of the W C Parson League Cup on Saturday (Oct 16, 1500ko).

Stewart has rewarded his players with a week off from training, although he has given them the option of a work out with the second team if they so desire.

He says: “It is the opportunity to rest a few legs and then we face Torrington, who have picked up of late and have had some good results, so we are expecting another good game here on Saturday.”

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