Pro-Direct South and West Counties Under 16s Championship
Devon 4 – 2 Somerset
Played at Devon County FA Headquarters, Coach Road, Newton Abbot 07/04/2019
This game was virtually over as a contest as early as the 21st minute, by which time Devon had taken a 3-goal lead.
Following an even opening 10 minutes Devon got on top and Ryan White (Heavitree) was unlucky to see his overhead kick just clear the Somerset crossbar. However, Devon supporters didn’t have to wait long for the first goal, Sam Stapleton (Blues South West) drilling his 13th minute shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards. Two minutes later Joe Ackerlay (AFC Plympton) could have made it two as he got on the end of a cross from the left only to shoot wide from 10 yards.
The Somerset team seemed to be struggling to get a foothold in midfield and the Devon forwards were able to pile pressure onto the Somerset defence at will. In the 20th minute Billy Vicary (Alphington) headed home a right-wing cross from Stapleton and that was followed a minute later by White, slotting from the edge of the box. Three nil to Devon and it seemed a landslide victory might be on the cards.
However, that was not to be, as a lengthy stoppage for treatment to Devon’s Finn Pearse (Blues South West) seemed to disrupt the pattern of play such that right on half-time Somerset’s Harry Purser (Cotford Saints) fired in after Devon custodian James Weekes (Totnes & Dartington) was only able to push out a shot from James Noad (Bath EVO). So, the players went in for the break with Devon still holding a two-goal advantage.
Somerset started the second half with a much more determined look about them as they shored up their midfield and started to find a way back into the match. Three minutes into the half James Cotterill (Cotford Saints) hit a left foot shot straight at Weekes. That was followed two minutes later by Blaine Lawrence (Merriot Scorpions), who dragged his 20-yard strike just wide.
Devon got the message and following use of the rolling substitutions were able to get back on the front foot, Brannon Roberts shooting just wide when well placed in front of goal and Finley Rookes (Alphington) strike from 30 yards going just over.
Somerset stepped up a gear and in the 59th minute Archie Harding (Bath City) drew a fine save from Weekes diving to tip a firm drive past the post. They got some reward for their hard work when, in the 67th minute, James Horricks (Bath City) fired across Weekes into the far corner from 10 yards. 3 – 2 game on.
In the 72nd minute Cotterill missed a good chance to level the scores, firing just over as a poor clearance landed at his feet. Devon were not to be denied however and produced the goal of the game in the 75th minute, a brilliant sequence of passes down the left culminating in Vicary heading in a cross from Alfie Harris (South Molton). Full time came with Devon back in control of the game and running out worthy winners by 4 goals to two.
Player of the Match - Finley Rooke (Devon)
The boys are again in action this Sunday (14th April) as they take on Wiltshire FA at Tiverton Town's ground. Kick-off is at 2pm.