HARRY Hodges had a part to play in both goals as Buckland Athletic beat Honiton Town 2-0 in the Devon St Luke’s Challenge Cup at Homers Heath last night.

It took until 10 minutes after the interval for the hosts to break the deadlock in the First Round tie when visiting keeper Luke Ashford spilled Hodges’ strike into his own net.

Then with injury time looming the Bucks right-back fired in a low cross which was inadvertently poked home by retreating Honiton defender Dan Tavender.

It was the visitors who came closest to scoring first when the lively Joel Jackson headed a free-kick against Andy Collings’ upright with 14 minutes played.

George Dandridge, man of the match in Buckland’s 2-1 Western League win at Sherborne Town on Saturday, saw his low drive deflected narrowly wide by a defender’s leg moments later.

The Bucks had the ball in the net with half an hour gone after Josh Webber slid through Scott Crocker, who had his shot saved. Ryan Bush lifted in the rebound, but the linesman’s flag was already aloft for an offside against Crocker.

The breakthrough eventually came five minutes before the hour mark when Hodges’ shot on the angle was parried by Ashford into the bottom corner.

Hodges was involved again five minutes later when his cross-field switch found fellow full-back Finn Roberts in space. The new arrival from Bovey Tracey let fly with a trademark strike which thundered off the crossbar and away to safety.

Honiton’s best chance to get back on level terms came two minutes from the end when substitute Dan Savage’s cross found Jackson, whose attempt was well saved by Collings. The rebound fell kindly to Joe Packer-Byrne but he could only misfire over the bar.

With the 90 nearly up the game would be made safe at the other end as Tavender got an unfortunate final touch on a low delivery from Hodges.

While being generally satisfied with his side’s progression into the next round, Buckland head coach Dan Hart underlined the importance of continued professionalism from his players.

‘Tonight was a good opportunity for us to see the team with the ball and focus more on being in possession – just like we did on Saturday in fairness,’ Hart said.

‘I was quite impressed with how Honiton went about their task tonight. They had a lot of experienced players who I remember playing against over the past decade.

‘They made life difficult for some of our younger players, especially in the midfield area, so fair play to them. They made it a really worthwhile exercise, especially in the second half.

‘I felt that when we needed to produce moments of quality, we did. However, we still need to be aware that professionalism is incredibly important in every game that we play. At times we let that slip a bit.’

Photo: Steve Pope MDA160722A_SP001
Pre-season football friendlies. Buckland Athletic versus Willand Rovers.
Bucks boss Dan Hart was ‘quite impressed’ by their lower-league opponents. (©Steve Pope/MDA)

It had been a mixed few days for full-back Hodges, who caught his manager’s eye for the wrong reasons on Saturday before finishing last night on a high.

‘Tonight gave us the chance to look at some different players in different positions,’ Hart added.

‘Harry Hodges in particular, who had a tough game on Saturday and a relatively poor performance in the first half today, is walking away from the second half with a goal and an assist to his name and a display which is much more like himself.

‘These games can be great for players’ confidence, and he’s one for sure that needs to take that into the next game on Saturday.’