Scott Richards Solicitors Devon Veterans Cup Final
Waldon Athletic Veterans 2 - 1 Elburton Villa Veterans
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot
A heavy pitch to start with worsened by torrential rain during the game provided the spectators who braved a wintery evening with some lively entertainment from two strong teams. Both teams showed a considerable amount of skill and commitment throughout as conditions became more and more difficult as the game went on. With centre back Dan Harrity leading from the front so to speak his 55th minute goal, cancelling out a one nil half-time deficit, gave Waldon the confidence to keep driving forward into the teeth of the pouring rain. A confidence that was rewarded in the 63rd minute, when a deep cross from Graham Haywood was neatly converted by Justin Osborne at the far post, giving Mark Easterbrook in the Elburton goal no chance from inside the six-yard box.
Both teams were sprinkled with players who, in their younger day, would have been playing at a good standard, indeed there were a number of past county players on show, and it was Elburton who set the pace of the game from the start. In the first minute Lee Doncaster got on the end of a low cross from the left only to fire his shot over the bar when well placed at the edge of the box.
Having repelled the early attacks from Elburton, in the 8th minute, Waldon were able to get Justin Grinsall clear but he dragged his shot wide from just outside the box.
The game was already opening up with mistakes being made by both teams and the timing of tackles on a surface that was becoming more and more difficult at the match wore on.
In the tenth minute a Darren Parr free kick for Elburton curled just over the bar. That was followed 3 minutes later by Harrity, up from the back, getting on the end of a deep corner only to head straight at Easterbrook. The next minute Doncaster saw his shot saved by the Waldon custodian, Paul Sharples, and so it went on.
In the 17th minute Harrity headed in beautifully an angled free kick only to have his celebration cut short by the linesman flag waving for offside. In the 21st minute a run down the left from Kevin Crowley ended with an excellent pull back to his brother Justin who couldn’t keep his shot down when he should at least have tested Sharples.
Despite all the attacking intent neither keeper had really been tested until, in the 26th minute, Elburton’s Darren Parr pounced on a loose ball in midfield and lashed in a 25-yard shot that beat Sharples despairing dive and gave his team the lead.
Elburton were on top now but, despite efforts from both the Crowley brothers, which were off target there was little work for either keeper until the 44th minute when Parr tried his luck from 20 yards to draw a good save from Sharples. The half time whistle went with Elburton holding on to their one goal lead and Waldon knowing they would have to come out for the second half facing the worst of the elements.
The second half started much the same as the first, this time it was Elburton’s Chris Richardson firing his shot over when well place inside the box. However, for the next ten minutes it was all Waldon. Harrity raced through the static Elburton defence to drive home the equaliser from an acute angle and Osborne, who had come on as a substitute in the first half, getting what ultimately proved to be the winning goal.
Elburton had a great chance to get level when, in the 67th minute, they were awarded a penalty, the referee deeming that Richardson had been pushed over in the box. After a lengthy delay up stepped Doncaster to shoot wide of Sharples left hand post, his standing foot sliding away as he was about to strike.
Despite a raft of substitutions from both teams their was little to trouble either keeper except that in the 75th minute Sharples did well to get behind a 25 yard shot from Justin Crowley.
Both teams had given their all and it was fitting that Waldon Athletic Veterans held on to receive the trophy from the sponsors, Scott Richards Solicitors.
Man of the Match - Dan Harrity (Waldon Athletic).
The next final is the A & S Paving Devon Intermediate Cup between Combe Martin and Spreyton at Coach Road on Tuesday 9th April kicking off at 7.15pm followed on Friday 12th April by the Westward Developments Devon Womens Senior Cup Final between Plymouth Argyle Ladies and Buckland Athletic Ladies.