Ilfracombe slump to sixth league defeat on the bounce
13:58 24 February 2014
Odd Down 6-3 Ilfracombe
ILFRACOMBE Town manager Ross Middleton described his side’s showing at Odd Down on Saturday as a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance, as Combe again came away with nothing in a nine-goal thriller.
After a positive performance on Wednesday night, the Bluebirds had to reshuffle with nine first team players missing through, and despite scoring three times away from home against a side who had only conceded 20 all season, defensive frailty proved their undoing as they were beaten 6-3.
Odd Down’s power and experience told through in the end, but Combe gave as good as they got and will be kicking themselves after avoidable errors again cost them.
Odd Down’s opener came a little out of the blue, as Combe switched off from a throw in and striker A. Hiroli showed too much strength for Lewis Ovey and put Down the home side in front.
The second goal was not great viewing for Ilfracombe - a long ball forward had James Mayne running back and Kurtis Parkin rushing out of his goal, with the pair colliding and leaving Kye Simpson with the simple task of walking the ball into an empty net.
The Bluebirds started the second half on the front foot and continued to play with pace and confidence.
And within 10 minutes of the restart, Combe had their reward when Mayne powered his header home from a pin-point Middleton free-kick.
But Combe’s hopes of mounting a comeback were short-lived, as three quick fire goals from the home side took the game well beyond the visitors’ reach.
The first was poor from Ilfracombe’s point of view with B.Hunt finishing far too easily from inside the box.
Midfielder Joe Raynes then smashed a first time looping strike past Parkin from 25 yards before Simpson netted his second of the day with a cool finish.
Ilfracombe frontman Stan Paxton had already tested the home keeper with a couple of strikes before finally getting the reward his performance deserved when he skipped through a number of challenges before finishing well from a tight angle.
In an end to end game, Odd Down replied quickly after Dejan Maric was adjudged to have tripped a home attacker inside the box.
Simpson stepped up to complete his hat-trick and restore the home side’s four-goal advantage.
Combe continued to attack, and were eventually awarded just their third penalty of the season.
Paxton converted from the spot to score the final goal of an entertaining game.
“Jekyll and Hyde perfectly sums today up,” said Middleton.
“There’s a huge amount of positives to take from today - we played some brilliant attacking football and scored two top quality goals. We even got a penalty which is something of a novelty for us this season.
“The disappointment is we made some really poor individual errors, two of their goals were top quality but the others were all preventable from our point of view.
“But we didn’t give in, we kept playing and kept creating chances against a very good Western League side.
“March is a huge month for us. We’ve got five home games starting with a big one against Slimbridge on Saturday. I’m hoping to have a few lads back from injury and I hope people will come along and give us the support we need to get back to winning ways.”