Late goals from Harry Walford and Aarron Denny were not enough, as Exmouth were beaten 3-2 at the Circle of Care Community Stadium, by play-off bound Sholing.

Town more than matched their opponents throughout the first half, but a nightmare two minutes in additional time saw them go a goal and a man down, with Daniel Mason opening the scoring, and Karl Riddell receiving a red.

Goals from Charlie Wagstaffe and Lee Wort furthered the visitors lead, and despite a late fightback, Town ended a successful first season in the Southern League Division One South in defeat.

Exmouth started the game on the front foot, pressing with energy, and this was displayed by Jordan Harris closing down Theo Widger, and blocking his attempted pass, but the ball rolled wide of the open net.

Harris was back involved after 15 minutes, as he held the ball up to lay off Ben Steer, who played a one-two with Aarron Denny, but the winger’s shot was straight at the Sholing stopper. 

Robbie Powell was soon called into action at the other end, as Lee Wort flicked the ball into the path of Wayne Robinson, who shot on goal but the goalkeeper was there to tip the ball over.

Exmouth continued to create half chances, as Harry Walford brought the ball out of defence, and laid the ball over to Ace High and he switched the ball over to Steer, who fired straight at Widger.

Sholing’s young goalkeeper was needed again as he made a superb save to deny Harris’ effort from the edge of the box, which was heading for the bottom corner.

Unfortunately for Town, as the half ended it started to go wrong, as Exmouth switched off at the back, allowing Jake Cope to pass to Daniel Mason, who found the top corner from close range. 

It would go from bad to worse for the hosts just a minute later, as a late lunge saw Karl Riddell see red, meaning Town would have to play the second half with just ten men.

Both teams failed to create any real openings for much of the early stages in the second half, with Town determined to keep the Boatmen out while they were a man down. 

It was not until the 69th minute that another real opportunity was created, and that was not good news for Town as the visitors played through Charlie Wagstaffe, who turned Tom Gardner before slotting past Powell.

The rain poured down at the Circle of Care Communnity Stadium, similarly to the reverse fixture, and you would be forgiven for having flashbacks to the 4-0 defeat earlier in the season.

Those memories would have not been helped by the game’s next big moment, as Sholing took apart Town’s resolve with four passes, leading to Lee Wort firing into the bottom corner and making it comfortable for the visitors.

Town were not happy to let the season go out with a whimper, and rallied to get back in the game.

They succeeded with ten minutes to go, as Harry Walford found himself through on goal, and he calmly finished past Widger to give Exmouth a slight hope going into the final moments.

The hosts continued to press for an equaliser, and came one goal closer as Dean Billingsley created some space down the right flank, and squared the ball across to Denny, who finished into the bottom corner to give Town a real opportunity to earn a point.

However, it wasn’t to be for Town, and Sholing almost grabbed a fourth if it wasn’t for a superb Powell save denying Wort from getting his second.

Exmouth can have plenty to be proud of this season, and they finish their inaugural Southern League Division One South campaign in 14th position.

LINE-UP: Powell, Walford, Riddell, Landricombe, Rowe, Gardner, Denny, Shipton, High (Slater, 65), Harris, Steer (Billingsley, 76).

Subs not used: Casey, Lever.  


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