South & West Counties Championship – Under 18 Boys Section
Cornwall 1 - 1 Devon
Played at Hayle Athletic FC
Saturday 25th January 2020
With one eye on the FA Counties Youth Cup semi-final versus Sussex to be played in a fortnights time, Devon manager Jason Rainey rotated his squad for this, his teams first South West Counties Championship match of the season. However, this Devon team had plenty of opportunities to continue their unbeaten run during which they have been prolific in front of goal.
In front of a healthy crowd, Devon had the first half advantage, playing down the slope on the excellent surface provided by the Hayle ground staff but, despite creating several good opportunities in the opening half hour, they found themselves, somewhat surprisingly, a goal down at half – time.
The first 20 minutes was all Devon as their two wing backs, Owen Raven (Torpoint Athletic) and Josh Parry (Brixham United), carved their way down the flanks on either side of the Cornwall defence. In the third minute Parry, raiding down the left, cut in and drew a good save from Kieran Daughtery (Helston Athletic) in the Cornwall goal. That was followed in the 11th and 14th minute by two efforts uncharacteristically off target from Mani Skett (Buckland Athletic) before, in the 17th minute, Parry saw his shot from the edge of the box blocked.
Cornwall, thanks to an organised defence well led by Harrison Jewell (Helston Athletic), had weathered the storm and in the 21st minute took the lead. Mawgan Kewn (Penzance), put away on the right, fired in a fierce drive which Devon’s keeper Bartosz Zarxycki (Lakeside Athletic) did well to parry but the ball fell to Sam Pickup (Falmouth Town) who drove home from close range.
During the next 10 minute Cornwall had a number of chances to increase their lead, Alex Wharton (Helston Athletic) firing just wide, Kewn racing clear only to shoot wide when well placed followed, in the 31st minute, by Jack Hooper (AFC St Austell) putting his 15 yard shot over the bar.
Raven and Parry switched wings and Devon started to get back into the game creating several chances to level the scores before half time. Jamie Passmore (Buckland Athletic) was just wide off a pass from Joe Wylie (Wellington Town), who was beginning to take control in midfield. In the 35th minute Wylie had a shot well saved at the second attempt by Daughtery and six minutes later Parry saw his fierce drive well saved.
With a minute to go to the interval two good opportunities fell to Devon. Skett’s header from a from close range being well saved and Passmore driving forward into the box only to drag his shot wide. Daughtery had been far the busier keeper but nevertheless Cornwall went in at half time with the precious one goal advantage.
The second half began with Devon much more in control of proceedings but unable to break through the Cornwall defence. Ethan Slater (Torquay United) had been introduced in midfield as replacement for Passmore and James Weeks (Torquay United) took over the gloves from Zarzycki. The introduction of Slater gave Wylie more freedom to work with Raven down the left and in the 51st minute created a chance for Skett which Daughtery was able to block. Five minutes later Skett was put through again but chipped his shot just over the bar.
Wharton had a good chance to put Cornwall two up from a breakaway on the hour but dragged his shot wide when well placed. A minute later Devon were level when Slater played in Wylie who laid a pass back for Skett to fire into the top corner from 12 yards out.
Devon then had two opportunities to win the game. In the 75th minute Skett had a shot from 20 yards which drifted wide, but the best chance fell to Slater who, in the 79th minute, unmarked at the far post, headed a corner from the right against the woodwork and the ball was cleared. And so, the game finished with honours even and both teams getting their first point.
Player of the Match – Owen Raven (Devon)