Cooper Fires Alphington To Glory

Leyton Cooper's eight minute hat-trick inspired Alphington Youth to win the Wotton Printers Devon Under 16 Boys Cup Final

Wotton Printers Devon Under 16’s Boys Cup Final

Alphington Youth 5-2 Blues South West

Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 23/04/19

This game appeared to be going the way of the Blues until, three minutes from the half-time interval, when Alphington’s Leyton Cooper, free down the left, checked inside onto his right foot and drove his 15-yard shot across Callum Wood, in the Blues goal, into the far corner. A surprising one-nil lead to the Alphas who had been penned in their own half for most of the first period, evidenced by their custodian, Ben Lester, being talked up as a potential man of the match winner.

Within three minutes of the kick-off he was brought into action, Blues Alfie Tolland testing him at his near post. In the 13th minute a piledriver from fully 30 yards, driven in by Harvey Andrews had him diving full length to his right to push the ball past the post. In the 24th minute he had to tip over a drive from Tre Hansford and, in the 35th minute, he was again called to give of his best. Handsford had cut through the right side of the Alphas defence to lay the ball back to Andrews who really tested Lester from just outside the box with a fierce right foot shot which the keeper did well to get a hand to.

Alphington were not completely out of the picture with two good opportunities coming their way. In the 29th minute Billy Vicary had a good chance but head straight at Wood. A minute later Cooper broke free down the left. He found Vicary in the centre if the penalty area with a low cross, but he was unable to finish, hitting his shot straight at Wood with the goal at his mercy. The interval came with the Alphas, somewhat surprisingly, a goal to the good.

The second half was a completely different event with the Alphas literally calling all the shots. Within a minute they were two up, Cooper breaking into the box and, using his left foot, finishing with aplomb. In the 45th minute it seemed that it was game over as Cooper pounced on a long pass out of defence, raced through the Blues defensive line, rounded Wood, and coolly completed his hat-trick rolling the ball home from six yards.

The Blues were not taking it lying down and, in the 50th minute, Sam Stapleton pulled one back, hitting his shot from 15 yards across Lester, giving him no chance. Three – one to Alphington who were making all the running now. In the 53rd minute Vicary cut in from the left but shot straight at Wood, who did well to parry. In the 57th minute Vicary was through again but Wood was out quickly to block his shot. Four minutes later he turned provider as he raced into the box and put one on a plate for his strike partner Owen Bates, who lashed his shot in from the edge of the six-yard box. Four – one now but the excitement for the 166 spectators didn’t end there.

In the 64th minute Holland poked his shot wide as the ball came out from a goalmouth scramble. Four minutes later Tyler Bell, who had just come on, had his shot from inside the box well saved. The Blues were still fighting hard to overturn the deficit and with eight minutes left on the clock Stapleton got his second, running through to chip over Lester. It was too little too late however, as a rash challenge from Blues Lewis King saw him sent off for his second yellow card offence and then, in the 76th minute Vicary was brought down in the box by Ben Brown, resulting in his dismissal and Finley Rooke slotting home the penalty giving Alphington victory by five goals to two.

Star Player - Leyton Cooper (Alphington)

The next final is the Wotton Printers Under 18s Youth Cup between Exmouth Town Youth and YMCA All Saints at Coach Road on Thursday 25th April at 7.15pm followed on Friday 26th April by the Scott Richards Solicitors Under 13 Boys Cup between AFC Plympton Youth and Marine Academy Plymouth Juniors again at Coach Road with a 7.15pm kick off.