Posted: 27.09.21 at 10:08 by Philip Evans
THE road to Wembley is a long and winding one, but Axminster Town’s journey came to an abrupt halt on Saturday after a 1-0 defeat against the unbeaten Brixham AFC, who are unbeaten this season.
The Blues arrived at Tiger Way having won all seven games in the South West Peninsular Premier East and are among the favourites to win the title.
But they certainly knew they had been in a battle to progress to the next round with the Tigers putting up firm resistance and were deserving of a replay with a gutsy performance watched by a disappointingly low crowd.
Whilst not the most scintillating cup tie I have seen, there was no lack of commitment and Axe were very much in the game until the final whistle.
There was little between the two sides in the opening exchanges with the Tigers creating the best chances and the previous week’s hat-trick hero Charlie Wilson testing the Brixham defence on a number of occasions.
As the half progressed the Blues started to find their stride but Axe coped well with their speedy front line.
No quarter was given by either side but Axminster’s Jamie Price, who led his defence magnificently as always, can consider himself unlucky to have been yellow carded in the 31 minute for a dangerous challenge when he clearly got to the ball first.
With a goalless fist half, the game was still wide open after the break and Axe started in positive fashion with Wilson going close with two free-kicks.
The goal that settled the game came in the 57th minute after some sloppy defending allowed Brixham to take the lead with a good finish that left the Tigers’ keeper, Jason Hutchings, with no chance.
Centre-back Chris McGrath fund himself in the referee’s book for another innocuous tackle as Axe pressed hard for the equalizer. A long shot from Wilson went just wide and a Jamie Girton close-range effort was kicked off the line.
Josh Wadham, who is nursing an injury, was brought off the bench in the 73rd minute in an effort to find that elusive equaliser and with the very last kick of the game his 30 yard effort curled just wide.
Whilst disappointed not to have booked their place in the second round, Axe can take some consolation they competed in all departments against a side that could well end up champions of the Peninsular Premier East division, an indication of just how much progress they have made this season.
*In the match programme, chairman Andy Hurford reported that COVID-19 had disrupted the 2020-21 season resulting in the cub’s income being hit hard.
He said: “Fortunately we took advantage of the government and FA Grants and now we are seemingly back to normal we can focus on the future.”
Mr Hurford reported that Nicola Weller had been appointed as vice-chairman with Julie Wardle continuing as secretary and Jason Hutchings as club captain. Two new committee members were elected – Keiran Quigley and Luke Clifton, representing the youth section which is continuing to grow and will see 200 youngsters playing football at Tiger Way within the next two years.
Fund raising event for cancer charities, 8pm till late with live music from Gary Barlow (Jon Fisher) and DJ Wolfies Disco. Pink raffle, food available...