Defeat for Devon in 7 Goal Thriller

Devon Seniors 3 v 4 Royal Navy Played at Coach Road 29/11/2017

Navy avenge past defeats.

Having succumbed to Devon in this annual challenge match for the past two seasons the Royal Navy proved too strong for a Devon side stripped by late withdrawals. However, both sides showed firm commitment to play & entertain the supporters who braved a bitterly cold night at County Headquarters.

Devon had the opportunity to draw first blood, when in the 5th minute a curling 25 yard free kick from Billy Tucker (Bideford) was well gathered by Chris Barnett in the Navy goal. The Navy side took the warning and pushed Devon back Danny Earl seeing his 8th minute shot from the edge of the box well saved by Exmouth’s Joe Moore in goal for Devon. Two minutes later Plymouth Parkway’s Mike Smith, the Navy centre forward went close with a near post header from 8 yards out.

The Navy were getting on top and deservedly took the lead on 16 minutes when Smith raced through the right side of the Devon defence to give Moore no chance, poking the ball home from 10yards out. They didn’t keep their lead for long however as in the 24th minute a shot from Ryan Richards (Saltash) took a wicked deflection off the Navy centre back, Saul Thorpe, to completely deceive Barnett and draw Devon level.

As the half drew to a close the Navy passed over several opportunities to go ahead, Shea Saunders being the most profligate, shooting wide from close in on two occasions. It was Devon who went closest to taking a half time lead when, in the 43rd minute, captain Danny Tapp (Elmore) put a looping header towards goal but could only watch as Phil Archibold raced back to clear his attempt off the line. So it was that an entertaining first half ended with honours even.

The Navy started the second half the stronger and practically from their first attack Saunders again shot wide from close in. He redeemed himself shortly afterwards when in the 50th minute he found the target, steering home a low cross that had the Devon defence all at sea. A minute later he found the target again, this time creating an opening and firing home a right foot shot from the edge of the box that beat Moore all ends up.

At three one down it looked all over for Devon until Tucker took advantage of a free kick needlessly given away by slotting a 25 yard left foot shot around the wall into the far corner. The Navy were not to be denied however and should have gone further ahead in the 70th minute had Dan Hindmarsh’s shot from 12 yards not been deflected over.

Devon were lifted by this and pushed forward in search of an equaliser but were caught out by a quick break out of defence leading to Danny Kerr restoring the Navy’s two goal lead with a fierce 15-yard cross- shot that gave Moore no chance. Devon poured forward but were unable to break down a resolute Navy defence until, with two minutes of normal time left, they were awarded a penalty which Tucker slotted home to bring Devon within one goal and set up a grandstand finish.

The Navy defence stayed strong however and despite their best efforts Devon could not find the goal that would level the match and deny the Royal Navy a deserved first victory over Devon at Coach Road.

Star player – Billy Tucker (Bideford)

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