Rocha Rocks Buckland

Bianca Paiva-Rocha's hat-trick inspires Axminster to shock win over Buckland

Graddon Vending Devon Women’s Supplementary Cup Final

Buckland Athletic 2nds   1 - 3    AxminsterTown

Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 29/03/2019

A hat-trick in the last twenty minutes from Axminster’s Bianca Paiva Rocha turned this game completely on its head as Buckland, who were clear favourites going into the match, found themselves unable to cope with the pressure of trying to keep hold of a slender one goal advantage given to them by Melissa Woodmore.

As expected the Buckland Ladies got off to a flying start and in the early minutes it was all the Axminster Ladies could do to keep them at bay. That was until the ninth minute when Woodmore chipped a lob over Hebe Dyer in the Axminster goal to give Buckland the start they were seeking, punishing the defence for failing to clear a loose ball from a corner.

The expected onslaught continued throughout the half but with Dyer confidently dealing with everything Buckland could throw at her Axminster slowly grew in confidence. In the 21st minute Paiva Rocha should have equalised when she raced through the Buckland defence only to pull her shot wide of the near post.

Three minutes later Stephanie Paynter was put through but saw her shot well saved by Emma Ayres in the Buckland goal. That let off spurred Buckland back into life and they gradually took control, however their inability to finish off some excellent passing would eventually come back to haunt them.

In the 39th minute Hannah Dawe was put in by a pass from Jenny Hammond but shot straight at Dyer and then, right on the stroke of halt-time, Dawe picked up a square pass from Chloe Driscoll but her shot went just wide with Dyer beaten. The half-time whistle went with Buckland Ladies just in the ascendancy by that single early goal.

The first 25 minutes of the second half both teams seemed to struggle to find some rhythm until Axminster gradually started to find gaps in the Buckland defence. With 19 minutes left on the clock Paiva Rocha raced through the middle to take advantage of a handling error from Ayres and roll the ball into the empty net to level the scores. Three minutes later Paiva Rocha found herself all alone at the far post to poke the ball home from two yards following a corner.

In the 76th minute Driscoll had a chance to level, outstripping the Axminster defence with her pace only to fire her shot just over the crossbar.

Axminster continued to press forward looking for a third goal to make their comeback complete and with two minutes left got their wish, Paiva Rocha pouncing on a poor clearance from a set piece to fire the ball across Ayres into the far corner to complete her hat-trick.

Buckland were not out of it yet though as in the 90th minute Katie Sawyer drew a the save of the night from Dyer, who had to dive full length to her left to tip the ball over the bar and keep her team’s two goal lead safe until the final whistle. So, somewhat against all expectations, Axminster, who received raucous encouragement from their supporters throughout, ran out worthy winners of the Devon Women’s Supplementary Cup. No mean achievement for a team who are only in their second season.

Player of the Match - Bianca Paiva Rocha (Axminster Town)

The next final is the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon Veterans Cup between Waldon Athletic and Elburton Villa at Coach Road on Friday 5th April, kick-off is at 7:30pm.