FOOTBALL: Ivybridge complete local derby double

By Graham Hambly   |   Ivybridge Town Correspondent   |
Thursday 7th October 2021 10:49 am
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IVYBRIDGE Town continued their impressive league form with their fifth successive victory in the South West Peninsula League when they completed the double over local rivals Elburton Villa with a 3-0 away win at Haye Road on Tuesday evening (Oct 5).

Fletcher Williams, who captained the side in the absence of the suspended Scott Pocock, rounded off a spell of Ivybridge pressure by firing his side into the lead in the 35th minute.

Luke Forward increased the lead in the first minute of the second half when he rounded off a smart move on the right with a well-directed shot and substitute Connor Rush celebrated his debut by wrapping up the victory in the final minute of normal time.

The win saw Ivybridge climb to third place in the table with 24 points from 12 games, four points adrift of leaders Okehampton.

Although Ivybridge manager Darren Stewart was ‘delighted’ with the result, he admitted to being concerned at some aspects of his side’s play.

He explained: ‘We would have settled for 3-0 before the game so we have got to be happy with the result, but some aspects of our play were a little sloppy.

‘There were times when we took our foot off the pedal, got a bit sloppy in possession, and made some bad decisions, but with a 3-0 result we did the right things at times. We just need to do the right things for longer in a game.’

New signing Rush, from Callington, came on as a second half substitute and underlined his value to the squad with his late goal.

Stewart sees Rush as a striker who can increase competition for places saying: ‘Connor has been around at this level for a few years, and he is a goalscorer.

‘At times we have had a lot of play without really making the most of the possession we have had. Connor is going to provide stiff competition now.

‘We have got five good attacking players to fill three positions and I feel Connor will be a valuable addition to the squad.’

The clean sheet at Elburton was the fourth in the last five games for Ivybridge despite the absence of key defender Pocock, who was serving a one-match suspension.

Stewart praised the performance of recent signing George Birbeck, saying: ‘He has done really well at central defence alongside Harrison Harvey-Searle, who produced a very mature performance.

‘Scott is a big player for us so to get three points without him is a testament to the other players.’

Birkbeck is not available this Saturday (Oct 9) when Pocock will return to the heart of the defence for the home match against Ottery St Mary, who were third in the table until being overtaken by Ivybridge on goal difference following the win at Elburton.

Stewart admits: ‘Ottery have done well and have had some good results. They are at the top end of the table, and it will be a difficult game.

‘We are good at home, although we have lost the last two home games in the cup. Other than that, we have been a strong side at home, and we want to keep our league run going.’

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