Devon Narrowly Defeated By Neighbours
South and West Counties Under 16s Championship
Cornwall 1 - 0 Devon
Played at St Blazey FC, Blaise Park on 8th December 2019
On a wet and windy afternoon at St Blazey FC, Devon succumbed to their second one nil defeat in this their second match in the under 16 championship, a defeat that effectively ended any chance they might have had of winning the group.
Both teams were very evenly matched and gave of an honest performance on a very sticky surface which cut up badly as the game went on. Devon kicked off and immediately took the game to their opponents with Jack Winsor (Buckland Athletic/Torquay United) testing the Cornwall custodian, Jamie Beare (AFC St Austell) as early as the 2nd minute with a dipping 25 yard shot. Devon were on top in these early stages but, save for a rasping drive just over the top from Charlie Holbrook (Lakeside Athletic), gave Beare little trouble.
Midway through the half Cornwall started to force their way back into the game and in the 24th minute they should have gone ahead. One of very few clear cut chances fell to the feet of Fin Ellacott (Plymouth Marjon), unmarked just inside the box, but his effort flew just wide of the far post.
In the 27th minute only the bravery of Devon’s keeper Seth Wright (Sidmouth Town) kept the scores level has he bravely dived in amongst the feet in the six yard box to grab the ball off the boot of Oscar Marks (Perranwell/Helston Youth) who seemed certain to score. A minute later Marks had another chance to beat Wright, his powerful cross shot to the far post being tipped just wide by Wright diving full length to his left. The Devon manager, Neil Saunders, had seen enough and after half an hour, in an effort to wrest back control of the midfield, started to rotate his squad.
This brought an immediate response as Devon got back on top and Tom Burt (Ipplepen Athletic/Torquay United) should have put his team ahead. Attacking down the left side in the 32nd minute he raced into the box but drove his 10 yard shot straight at Beare who parried and then smothered the shot at the second attempt.
Half time came with the teams level at 0 – 0.
Cornwall flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half and within two minutes were ahead, albeit from a penalty given for an unfortunate accidental trip when a Devon defender lost his footing on the slippery surface and took out Marks who had just broken into the box, the spot kick being driven powerfully past Wright by Kayden Gordon – Dunn (Helston Youth). That proved to be the only goal of what proved to be a very even game. In the 44th and 45th minutes Marks had two good chances for Cornwall, a left foot shot from the edge of the box well saved by Wright followed by a right foot shot just wide of the far post.
The best chance of the came in the 72nd minute and should have provided Devon with the equaliser they worked so hard for. A cross from Jay Richards (Okehampton Argyle) found John Agpoon (Buckland Athletic/Torquay United) unmarked 8 yards out but he couldn’t direct his header on target and the chance was lost.
Both teams were visibly tiring as full time approached and right on 80 minutes Cornwall’s James Swan (Perranwell) had the chance to make the game safe but his shot from 15 yards was well saved by Wright and so, referee Kevin Knowles, who had been excellent throughout, blew for full time with the final score Cornwall 1 Devon nil.
Cornwall, having played and won their first three matches of the five match group now have, with Somerset and Berks and Bucks still to play, a good chance to win the championship for the first time.
Star Man - Jay Richards (Devon)