Scott Richards Solicitors Devon Veterans Cup Final
Plymouth Phoenix 3 - 1 Topsham Town
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 04/06/2021
Three second half goals from a rejuvenated Phoenix team turned this game on its head as they ran out worthy winners of the 2021 Veterans final.
Topsham kicked off but were soon tested at the back as in the first minute, Phoenix’s Ian Thistlethwaite found himself free on the left and crossed for James Carter to fire in a powerful shot from 25 yards which was partially blocked, but nevertheless had to be dealt with by Martin Rice in the Topsham goal. Following that scare Topsham quickly got themselves organised and with Ben Harris prompting from midfield started to create chances.
On 9 minutes Wayne King was put Through but placed his shot just wide and in the 19th minute Mike Bond rounded the Phoenix custodian James Carr only to put his shot into the side netting from a narrow angle. That narrow escape brought Phoenix back into the game as in the 20th minute, James Bignell almost surprised Rice with a curling shot off the outside of the boot that just flew past the far post. A minute later Nick Hubber round Rice only to see his shot come back off the far post.
It was Topsham who took the lead however, as Phoenix were opened up by a raking cross-field pass from Ryan Harris was crossed into the penalty area by Iain Curran for Tim Whiteoak to give Carr no chance at the far post. One nil to Topsham and despite Phoenix making two changes on the half-hour they were able to comfortably hold on to a lead which the should have doubled two minutes before the break. Awarded a free kick some 30 yards out Curran found Paul Pocock who flicked the ball onto King who placed his shot just the wrong side of the far post.
The half time whistle came with Topsham having just the one goal advantage. That was soon found not to be enough as in the 47th minute Phoenix were level, Gary Dickson heading home the rebound after Rice could only parry Barry Green’s powerful free kick from just outside the box.
As often happens with the many substitutions that occur in these games teams can lose their shape somewhat and Phoenix, who had made two changes in the first half, seemed to manage the changes better. In the 59th minute Carter raced into the box the get on the end of a cross from Scott Dyer and put his team into lead, completing a remarkable comeback.
Ten minutes later the Phoenix scored a third as Nick Hubber gleefully prodded home a cross from Ash Ward to seemingly make the game safe. Topsham were not beaten yet however, as Carr was called upon twice in the last ten minutes. In the 80th minute he saved an attempt from Kevin Hill, who had been pushed up from the back, and then, in the 4th minute of added time pulled off a good save to deny Darren Bingham.
Both teams had given their all and on this occasion it was Plymouth Phoenix who came out on top in a sometimes feisty encounter well controlled by the match officials.
Star Player - Scott Dyer (Plymouth Phoenix)