Wotton Printers Devon Under 18s Youth Cup Final
Exmouth Town U18 1(4) – 1(2) Totnes & Dartington U18
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 30/08/2020
Exmouth Town Under 18s made a belated return to Coach Road due to Coronavirus to defend the title they won last year. Totnes and Dartington had other ideas though and, fielding a very strong team containing a number of players from the County Youth team that reached last season’s FA Counties Youth Cup semi-final, they imposed themselves almost from the kick-off.
Exmouth kicked off and went straight on the attack but were soon pegged back and in the 9th minute Totnes & Dartington’s Izaak Blatchford-Skinner, put through on the left, pulled his shot just wide of the far post. T & D were getting the upper hand but in the 15th minute Exmouth’s Harry Bennett almost broke clear but the challenge from Cameron Wood left him with a dead leg and he was replaced by Ethan Lake.
In the 18th minute a speculative lob from T&D’s Cole Harford just cleared the Exmouth bar with keeper William Davis beaten but in the 21st minute Davis was his team’s saviour pulling off a marvellous double save to deny Calum Fyfe and then Harford. Two minutes later Charlie Miller was narrowly wide with his cross shot from the right.
Totnes & Dartington were well on top now but were once again denied by Davis who, following a 27th minute free kick interchange between Blatchford=Skinner and Mani Skett, pulled off a brilliant save to keep his clean sheet intact. T & D continued to press forward, determined to make their pressure count and were almost caught out at the back, Exmouth pressing forward down the right to win their first corner. The corner was swung into the six yard box, but the referee had seen some pushing and awarded T&D a free kick which was swept downfield to Skett who mishit his shot. Two minutes later Skett really should have scored when, put through on the left, fired his fifteen yard shot against the near post and away.
The Exmouth defence had dealt well with the pressure and almost turned the game on its head when, in the 33rd minute a cross from the right was met by Tom Preece, who’s powerful header was well saved by T & D custodian Jim Weeks who, up to now had had only a watching brief.
T & D eventually got the upper hand as, in the 39th minute, they were able to break down a resolute Exmouth defence, Miller firing in a low cross from the right which fell to Harry Bamforth, who slotted neatly from 15 yards out. Exmouth went straight on the attack from the kick-off but were denied by Weeks and half-time came with Totnes and Dartington leading by one goal to nil.
T & D’s half-time lead didn’t last long as within 3 minutes of the restart Jake Pond bulleted home a header from a corner, giving Weeks no chance.
The game was opening up nicely but the final ball was being denied at both ends by some spirited tackling from both teams, the next chance falling to Exmouth’s Ollie Holman who, almost on the hour, pounced on a loose ball and fired in a powerful left foot shot from the edge of the box which was well saved by Weeks.
In the 72nd minute Skett thought he had restored the advantage with a powerful shot from the edge of the box but was denied by Davis who dived to his left to keep the ball out with help of his left hand post. Two minutes later it was Weeks turn to show his prowess, firstly denying Ollie Bray and then Lucas Coveney.
As the game drew to a close shots from Harford in the 82nd minute and Skett in the 85th both flew wide and referee Bailey Walker brought proceedings to a close with the score standing at one goal each. There being no extra time the result was decided by kicks from the penalty spot. The first four kicks were converted but then Davis saved from Ben Cregan and Harford whilst Nat Hawkins fired home Exmouth’s 4th kick to win the County Youth cup for his team.
Man of the Match - William Davis (Exmouth Town U18)