T and D earn promotion but just miss out on the title
Totnes and Dartington 4,
T and D rounded off their season in glorious sunshine at the end of the wettest season on record.
The final match saw them up against Newton Abbot Spurs reserves a side they had failed to beat in both league and cup encounters earlier in the campaign.
With a victory imperative to keep pressure at the top of the divisional standings, T and D were able to field a strong starting line-up with centre-half Ollie Smith standing in between the sticks for the absent Dave Carroll.
Well protected by a back three of Jed Roberts, Rob Newson and Adam Biggs, Smith looked assured throughout the 90 minutes, secure in his handling and accurate in his distribution.
On top from the outset, T and D took the lead on 22 minutes when the hardworking midfielder Josh Bird was rewarded for his industry, firing home from 18 yards courtesy of some good approach work on the right-hand wing by Roberts and Sam Jones.
Continuing to press forward in the search for more goals, the home side doubled their advantage midway through the half with another midfielder, Charlie Ginley, taking advantage of some wayward Spurs defending.
The second half begun with a set back for the homesters as they conceded after 10 minutes; a right-wing attack saw the ball crossed to the far post, where Hancox showed good control before firing past Smith to bring his side back into the contest. Despite this setback T and D continued to push hard in attack with both wing backs, Sam Jones on the right and Finn Roberts on the left, moving forward to augment their attacking options. Top scorer Dan Block went close on 55 minutes but his effort rolled agonisingly wide of the far post with the away side defence statuesque.
Following Block’s near miss, T and D did not have to wait long before restoring their two-goal advantage. Once again it was another midfielder getting in on the act, this time Jamie Soper being rewarded for some determined play in the attacking area.
The result was put beyond any doubt with a Block getting on the score sheet; this time it was not Dan adding to his season’s tally but younger brother Josh, one of a group of younger players to make great progress through the season, who notched his first goal of the campaign.
By winning their last five games T and D set the toughest of challenges for the other sides at the top of the division.
However, it was not quite enough as local rivals Harbertonford garnered enough points to match the T and D total and take the divisional title on goal difference only.
The Fords are to be congratulated on an excellent season which saw them beat T and D both home and away, albeit by the narrowest of margins in two closely contested and enjoyable matches.
With both sides stepping up to the SDFL Premier Division doubtless rivalries will be renewed in season 2018-19.
Managers Mark Rogers and Del Chester and club coach Alan Blake expressed their thanks to all those who have supported the team throughout the year particular those behind the scenes at the club and the local companies and businesses who have been most generous in their sponsorship without whose support the results on the pitch would not have been possible.
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