SWPL EAST Ivybridge Town 2 Axminster Town 0

SWPL logoA GOAL early in each half was enough for Ivybridge Town to continue their winning run in the South West Peninsula League with a 2-0 home victory over Axminster at Erme Valley on Saturday.

Ivybridge extended their lead at the top of the East Division table with their eighth successive win of the season and are now seven points clear of second-placed Axminster.

Ivybridge had the perfect start against their closest rivals when leading scorer Jordan Ewing put them ahead with a cracking volley after only four minutes for his seventh goal of the season.

Ewing turned provider six minutes after the interval with some good work on the right before providing the perfect cross for attack minded left back Jake Lane to smash the ball home from close range.

Axminster battled determinedly to get back into the game but were unable to break down a resolute Ivybridge side, who chased tirelessly as they held out to keep their fifth clean sheet of the season.

It was the first defeat in eight games for Axminster, who finished the game with nine men after having two players sent off in the fifth of almost seven added minutes at the end of the game.

Ivybridge manager Darren Stewart was delighted with the latest victory, which means his team have won the first eight games of the season after winning the final eight of last season – to make it a 16-match winning run.

Stewart said: “Of the games I have watched, Axminister have been the most organised and strongest side.

“I think at the beginning of the first half we set the tempo of the game. We kept the ball really well, played in good areas and restricted them just to counter attacks and deservedly took the lead.

“The second half was a different game. We knew they would come out and get at us.

“They put the ball in the box a lot and you are always conscious that something could drop, but we scored the second goal just at the right time and saw the game out.

“It was quite passionate. We just needed a bit of coolness and a bit of calmness and that’s what happened with the goal. We worked the ball through midfield, Jordan put a great ball in and Jake arrived from full back and tucked it home.

“It was a goal at the right time and gave us a platform to see the game out.”

Stewart praised the overall defensive work of his side, commenting: “If we keep the ball for the majority of the time and dictate possession it does not allow other teams to get a head of steam against us.

“We defend from the front and insist on a high work ethic. You look at the ’keeper and the defence when you are keeping clean sheets, but all the boys in front of them put in a shift today.

“There was not an instance in the game where you thought we were in trouble. There were a lot of crosses and a lot of free kicks but we dealt with it really well.”

Ivybridge now have a clear week before Saturday’s (Sept 10) visit to Honiton. Their next home match is on Wednesday September 14 against Bovey Tracey, who won 7-2 at Bridport on Saturday. That followed convincing home victories over Dartmouth (6-0) and Newquay (5-0) in the FA Vase.

Stewart says: “It will be a difficult game at Honiton as they are a good physical side and then Bovey Tracey are picking up good results lately so that is going to be a hard game.”

Ivybridge’s visit to Plymouth Marjon has been switched from September 20 because Marjon have a league cup fixture that evening. The match will now be on Saturday March 18, 2023 which was a blank date in the original fixture list.

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