JOINT manager Wayne Gamble promised that Ivybridge Town’s South West Peninsula League match against Axminster Town would prove a different proposition to last month’s League Cup clash and the players lived up to that prediction.
Axminster managed a 1-0 win on their previous visit to Erme Valley, but the return match on Saturday (Jan 20) saw Ivybridge gain a comfortable 6-0 victory to strengthen their position at the top of the East Division table.
It was Ivybridge’s fifth successive victory with three successive clean sheets which sees them 18 points clear of second placed Crediton, whose match was postponed on Saturday. Third placed Bridport are 21 points adrift after being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Elburton Villa.
Ivybridge were given an early boost in the 14th minute when full back Jake Lane opened the scoring with a great shot for his tenth goal of the season.
The turning point came on the half hour after Jack Alexander and Luke Forward switched wings with Alexander immediately a threat on the right as he set up two cracking opportunities in the space of a minute.
Recent signing Sean Thomson gratefully accepted the opportunity to fire home his first goal for the club in the 29th minute.
Then, a minute later, leading scorer Forward ran in from the left to meet Alexander’s cross to score his 19th goal in 21 appearances to give Ivybridge a 3-0-lead.
Alexander continued to pose a threat to the visitors and was rewarded with a goal of his own with an excellent shot in the 37th minute.
There was more of the same after the interval with Alexander collecting his 14th goal of the season in the 56th minute.
Ivybridge took the opportunity to give minutes to all five substitutes and one of them, Owen Pritchard, cashed in within six minutes of his arrival to complete the scoring in the 71st minute. It was his first goal for the club in his third appearance – all three from the bench.
Taken all round it was a successful afternoon for Ivybridge and match sponsors, The Railway Inn of Albert Road in Plymouth.
The man of the match award went to defender Jordan Powell, who had brilliant game at the back to take the award ahead of the claims of Alexander with his two goals and three assists.
Gamble said: ““The boys were relentless yesterday! Jack Alexander ran Axminster ragged
Powell started at central defence alongside skipper Scott Pocock but switched to left back midway through the second half when Jake Lane made way for Josh Zimmerman, who came off the bench to resume his partnership with Pocock at the heart of defence.
Having players of such quality among the substitutes underlines the wealth of talent in the current Ivybridge squad.
The league leaders now face three away fixtures before their next home game against Okehampton on February 24.
On Saturday (Jan 27) they face a trip to Honiton followed by a blank Saturday on February 3. Then come visits to Torrington (Feb 10) and promotion rivals Bridport (Feb 17).