Devon FA U16s Too Strong For Gloucestershire FA

Match Report - Devon FA 2 - 1 Gloucestershire FA - Sunday 3rd December 2017 - Coach Road, Newton Abbot.

Devon made hard work of what, on the balance of play, should have been a comfortable victory for Neil Saunders’ young charges.

Bartosz Zarzychi (Plymouth Marjons Youth) in the Devon goal could not have asked for an easier afternoon as the Gloucestershire forwards were well contained throughout by a back four well organised by Owen Williams (Plymouth Marjons Youth) and Ben Wakeham (Galmpton United Youth).

Prior to the last minute when Gloucestershire’s Captain, Jamie Shaw (Gloucester City) went through Devon’s right flank to power home his side’s consolation goal, Zarzychi had had only two shots from distance to deal with.

The rest of the game belonged to Devon and were it not for some excellent goalkeeping from Joseph Wright (WBA Development), who pulled off two outstanding saves in the second half to deny Kian Nation and Connor Thomas (both Plymouth Marjons Youth) they would have claimed a much greater margin of victory.

Gloucestershire started the match on the front foot but were soon forced to defend in numbers as Devon took a stranglehold in midfield, where Ranz Farnican (Feniton Youth) and Beckham Pyatt (Clyst Valley Youth) were particularly prominent, feeding the ball into the strikers at will from the right side.

However, it was from an attack down the left side that Devon took the lead, in the 10th minute Olaf Koszela (Torquay United Youth) pouncing on a poor clearance to beat three defenders and smash an unstoppable cross-shot past Wright into the far corner of the net.

One - nil to Devon and thanks largely to the profligacy of Devon’s attack that was how it stayed until six minutes from the end when Nation powered the ball home from 10 yards to make the score two nil, Farnican getting the assist.

In between the two goals Devon created numerous chances but failed to convert any of them.

In the 16th minute Koszela thought he had doubled his and Devon’s tally but the officials deemed that the ball had not crossed the line. Four minutes later Pyatt had a fierce strike from a Farnican cross well blocked. In the 25th minute Farnican played a slick one-two with Koszela only to fire wide from 12 yards.

Gloucester had their first and only attempt of the first half in the 28th minute when Nathan Clift (WBA Development) came up from the back to fire in a shot from range that was well fielded by Zarzychi.

Devon’s ability to play the ball out from the back was well in evidence at this stage and two more good chances were made and wasted before half time. In the 38th minute Wakeham raced into the box and really should have converted low cross from Farnican, hitting his first time shot straight at Wright from 12 yards out. That was followed in the 40th minute by Farnican driving a shot from 10 yards out into the side netting.

Williams and Wakeham were soaking up everything at the back for Devon and Gloucestershire’s attacks were easily dealt with before they got close enough to be a danger to the Devon goal, the only surprise was the score remaining one – nil at half time.

The second half started much as the first had ended with Devon in the ascendancy and Gloucestershire defending resolutely. Five minutes in Koszela failed to make contact when found unmarked six yards out and by the time Gloucestershire’s Joe Cameron (Cirencester Town) had their first attempt of the half, driving just wide from 12 yards in the 54th minute, Devon had wasted three more chances to make the game safe; Ewan Reeves (Holsworthy Youth), Adam Jerrett (South Molton Juniors) and Mitchell Williams (Elburton Villa Juniors) all shooting wide when well placed.

Devon kept on probing and would have gone two up in the 61st minute were it not for Wright diving full length to tip Nation’s rasping left foot shot from the edge of the box over the bar.

Two minutes later Koszela saw his shot from just outside the box well gathered by Wright who was almost single handily keeping Gloucestershire in the game.

Devon were not to be denied however, Nation beating Wright from 10 yards in the 74th minute to claim what proved to be the deciding goal. With confidence high they went looking for the third to seal the match and were it not for Wright tipping Thomas’ thunderous 20 - yard drive onto a post and out they would have got it.

Gloucestershire, looking well beaten, somehow managed to find their consolation goal just before the final whistle but Devon will be happy with the three points.

The referee called proceedings on the game, allowing Devon to walk away with all three points.

Congratulations to the young lads on a fine win and commiserations to Gloucestershire FA who were a credit both on and off the field.

Star man Owen Williams (Devon)

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