FA Counties Youth Cup Quarter Final
Devon FA 4 – 0 Amateur Football Alliance
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 11/01/2020
A strong, disciplined display from a well organised Devon side put the Amateur Football Alliance to the sword on a wet and windy afternoon at County Headquarters. Devon were on top throughout and two goals in each half, from Mani Skett (Buckland Athletic) and Matt Wood (Elmore) in the first, Joe Wylie (Wellington Town) and Wood again in the second period showed their superiority in strength and pace on a heavy Coach Road pitch.
Devon kicked off with the strong wind behind them and soon had the Alliance lads on the back foot, scoring their first goal in the ninth minute, when Cole Harford (Stoke Gabriel) wriggled his way into the Alliance penalty area to fire a fierce shot at Harry Hauserman in the Alliance goal. Hauserman could only parry however and Skett, alert as ever, following in nodded home from close range. Five minutes later it could have been two nil when an excellent passing move between Skett and Josh Parry (Brixham) resulted in Skett curling his finish just wide of the far post.
In the 16th minute the Alliance had a great chance to equalise when Dustin Dumfeh was put through in the Devon penalty area but was unable to beat the Devon custodian, Josh Nicol (Bovey Tracey) who raced from his line to block. That was as good as it got for the Alliance who, facing a driving wind and a determined Devon outfit, were finding it difficult to get any meaningful possession. A collision between Hauserman and his centre – back Miles John didn’t help their cause as John had to be substituted.
Devon were well on top now and both Skett and Harford failed to convert chances to make the game safe, Skett driving a free kick just past the far post and Harford heading wide, again at the far post. However, Harford and his colleagues had taken a stranglehold in midfield and a second goal seemed inevitable. Louis Edmondson (Torquay United), up from the back, saw his shot well saved at the near post but it was from a well worked corner routine that Devon got their second. Ollie Holman worked the flag kick to Harford whose return pass was swung across to Wood who headed home with aplomb, giving Hauser man no chance. So Devon went into the half time break with a thoroughly deserved two goal advantage.
If the Alliance lads thought, they would fair better with the wind behind them, they were soon found wanting as Devon continued to keep control of the ball. In the 54th minute Charlie Miller (Bovey Tracey) had a great chance to put Devon three up, getting on the end of an exquisite cross from Skett only to see his header from inside the six yard box clear the bar.
Skett was terrorising the Alliance defenders down either flank and, in the 59th minute, his chipped cross to the far post was put away by Wylie from close range. Three nil to Devon and despite a raft of substitutions from both sides the Alliance were unable to stem the tide. Nicol, in the Devon goal, competently dealt with the two opportunities that came the way of the Alliance forwards, but it was Devon who had the last word. With a quarter of an hour left in the match Skett swung a corner from the left on to the head of his captain, Matt Wood, who headed home unchallenged to complete the Devon victory and take them on to a home semi-final meeting with either Sussex or Durham.
Player of the Match – Cole Harford (Devon)