NEWTON Abbot Spurs extended their unbeaten home run to six on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Honiton Town at The Rec.
Callum Noyce, Theo Ramsey and Will Hancox propped up the hosts’ side of the scoresheet while Lewis Couch gave the hungry Hippos their only joy.
‘It was really slow for us to start with; the first half was painful to watch,’ said Spurs boss Marc Revell.
‘We had no in-game management and I knew it would take to get to half-time to have a conversation to tell them how to try and change the game for themselves – we were just going long and going over the top too much and it was a bit of chasing shadows but ineffective balls over the top.’
Spurs were let off the hook after only four minutes when Aaron Pearse saw his penalty crash back off the underside of the crossbar.
Three minutes later they were in front. A cross-cum-shot from Mason Dolman forced the Honiton goalkeeper into parrying to the feet of Noyce, who was able to stab home from close quarters.
‘[Scoring almost immediately] stemmed the flow and set [Honiton] back a bit,’ Revell explained.
‘We’ve been on the other end of that, where we have chance after chance missed and the other team have scored, and it is very deflating to concede when you’re on top, as much they were.
‘Noycey is our top scorer. He took himself out of the equation when he was away for a weekend, and the thing is with that is that if you’ve only got three strikers and one of them goes away for a week it’s easy to bring that man that’s missing straight back in. Our situation is so different; you almost drop down the ladder where you’ve then got to wait for your next turn to jump on the train, and he’s done that.
‘Callum has had a fantastic start to the season and I know what I get with him; some players can be a little indifferent but with Callum you know he’s going to get a goal and the stats show that.’
Honiton’s woes in front of goal continued throughout the half, with both the key chances falling to Pearse. The towering striker coolly volleyed into the top corner from the centre of the box two minutes after Spurs’ go-ahead goal but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag. Then, with the opening stanza reaching its conclusion, Pearse was slipped through into a one-on-one with Spurs ‘keeper Kit Glanville but saw his shot sliced inches wide of the right post.
Newton turned the screw after the half-time break. Seven minutes after the restart, Ramsey curled home his second goal in as many games from beyond the penalty area to double the advantage.
Ramsey was instrumental in his side’s third moments later. The tricky winger carried the ball into the box from the left flank and squeezed a pass into the centre, where Hancox was on hand to blast the ball into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
‘Last season we drew seven or eight games on the trot when we dominated: Bridport at home, we dominated Honiton at home and we ended up drawing those games – that’s where we were last season,’ Revell said.
‘This year I feel we’re slightly less naive and put teams to the sword – we only turned it on for 15 minutes in the second half. We were in second or third gear in the first half, kicked into fourth or fifth in the second half and then flicked into neutral for the rest of the game.’
But Honiton would not leave Teignbridge without something to shout about. On 66 minutes, substitute Couch fired home a free-kick at Glanville’s near post.
‘Credit to them,’ Revell said.
‘I’ve looked at their results and watched them, and all the times we’ve played them they never stop, never die and never give up – you won’t go and beat them 6 or 7-0 because they’re a side that at 2-0 down carried on and even at 3-0 got themselves back in the game.
‘I think they still sniffed a little bit of potential at 3-1 down. It was important we set them back with an early goal but it was disappointing we couldn’t keep the tide turned.’
Revell’s side are undefeated at home since April, and Saturday’s win moves them to four games – home and away – without loss.
‘The last two seasons, all I’ve said is to make this place a fortress and make ourselves unbeatable here,’ Revell said.
‘I don’t want to lose games here, and as soon as I say that we lose a game so I haven't spoken about it this year.
‘A couple of the lads have said that we’re still unbeaten at home but I won’t pay attention to any of it until the end of the season when you’re telling me that one game from the end – and I still won’t mention it!’