The Brunel Cup
Cornwall Men 2 – 1 Devon Men
Played at Blaise Park, St Blazey, Cornwall
Cornwall edge past Devon but fail to take the trophy.
This sixth and final match of the inaugural Brunel Cup series of matches between the two counties proved an intriguing contest between two teams that were somewhat surprisingly well matched on the night despite difficulties, in particular on the Devon side, in fielding full strength teams. However, those taking part gave a good account of themselves in front of some 200 spectators on the splendidly appointed Blaise Park pitch, albeit with Cornwall having a mountain to climb to overcome a seven goal deficit from the results of the five previous games.
Devon kicked off and during the early skirmishes the pace of the Cornwall attack soon put their defence under pressure but, fortunately, those attacks were all foiled by the assistant referee’s offside flag. Cornwall should have gone ahead in the third minute as wing back Callum Martindale (Saltash United) raced down the left and crossed into Jack Bray-Evans (Falmouth Town) who was unable to control. The main threat from Devon also came down the left, with some good link up play between Alfie Tucker (Newton Abbot Spurs) and Luke Mortimore (Okehampton Argyle) but with no end product.
In the 9th minute Mortimore used his pace to go past Dave Barker (Saltash United), at right back for Cornwall, checked inside and found Jesse Howe (Elmore FC) whose shot was blocked. The resulting clearance landed at the feet of Bray-Evans who caressed his shot from just outside the box, with plenty of swerve, over Aaron Dearing (Okehampton Argyle) in the Devon goal to nestle in the far corner of the net.
The next six minutes could have seen Devon further behind as Martindale was out of luck with two good opportunities. First, he got on the end of across from the right, just managing to steer it past the near post from inside the six yard box and then, on 15 minutes he got his head to a free kick crossed in from wide on the left by Sam Farrant (Saltash United) but couldn’t hit the target.
Devon started to get some joy in midfield through Steve Colwell (Helston Athletic), who was breaking up play and then working with Howe to find a way through a very powerful Cornish back line. In fact, the spine of the Cornish team was such that it was always going to be difficult to find away through, keeper Ryan Barnes (Falmouth Town) being well protected by James Ward (Falmouth Town) and Josh Storey (Helston Athletic).
Devon grew in confidence, and as the half went on chances started to come, Barnes’ first serious test coming on 30 minutes, pushing a shot from Mortimore out for a corner which was cleared. The ball fell to Levi Landricombe (Exmouth Town) who was felled some four yards outside the 18 yard box. He tried to bend resulting free kick around the Cornish wall, but it held firm. Five minutes later Farrant was found unmarked at the other end drawing a good save from Dearing.
The game had become very open, and it was Devon’s turn next, Landricombe firing wide after being put through by Colwell following a good period in midfield. An equaliser then would have been just reward but, just before half time, Cornwall could have been two up, Bray-Evans being denied as his shot from the edge of the box was turned around the post by Dearing. And so, a very entertaining first half was brought to a close with Cornwall still holding a slender one goal advantage.
Cornwall started the second half on the front foot, and, on 48 minutes, Reece Thomson (Saltash United) put a header just over the bar. Cornwall were to suffer for missing that chance as, straight from the goal kick, Colwell was fouled in the ‘D’ at the other end. He got up, dusted himself down and, using Howe as a decoy, promptly blasted the ball through the wall into the corner of the net giving Barnes no chance of stopping it. One each now and all to play for.
The next ten minutes or so were interrupted by a raft of substitutions. Before the hour was up Devon’s Howe was replaced by Harvey Dennis (Barnstaple Town Yth) and for Cornwall Bray-Evans and Farrant were replaced by Cameron Wheat (Wendron United ) and David Broglino (Falmouth Town). Then, on 62 minutes, Cornwall made 3 more changes. Tom Payne (Millbrook) and Jarrad Woods (Liskeard Athletic) replacing Martindale and Rikki Shepherd. Barnes also made way for Chris Wearing (Millbrook) to take his place in goal. In between those changes, in the 58th minute, Landricombe broke through and with a pass down the line found Stuart Bowker (Helston Athletic), whose tempting cross from the left somehow evaded all in the six yard box and flew harmlessly wide of the far post.
In the 72nd minute Bowker, who had led the line well, was clearly tiring and was replace by Jake Ramday (Teignmouth). Within two minutes of coming on he set up a good chance for Luke Barner (Thorverton), who had replaced Landricombe, but he sliced his shot just wide.
The Cornwall changes clearly gave a boost to their attack, the extra pace of Wheat being particularly noticeable, and it was Wheat who won the penalty kick that decided the match. Chasing a through ball into the box he was brought down by Dearing and up stepped Ed Harrison (Camelford/Tavistock) to score from the spot.
As the game drew towards a close Devon’s manager, Jason Rainey, in a desperate attempt to salvage the game, made two more changes but, despite the introduction of the youthful George Jones and Charlie Wright, both of Barnstaple Town Youth, they were unable to penetrate the Cornwall defence again and, after six minutes of added time the two teams, who had given their all, were grateful for the final whistle.
The six match series had ended 3 – 3 but Devon are the trophy winners on goal difference mostly due to the 7 goals scored by Ellie Sara for Devon under 16s girls at Newquay in April.
Our thanks go to the management teams for all the six matches that took place, to Richard Pallot for Cornwall, to Richard Hill for Devon, to Newquay and St Blazey Football Clubs for the use of their facilities, and to all at Devon FA Headquarters including the Representative Committee for their commitment to the competition.
Player of the Match – Steve Colwell (Devon)
1 Aaron Dearing
2 Harry Walford,
3 Alfie Tucker
4 Dan Preece
6 Steve Colwell
7 Jake Miller
8 Jesse Howe
9 Stuart Bowker
10 Levi Landricombe
11 Luke Mortimore
12 George Jones
Gk Dominic Larter
14 Jake Ramday
15 Luke Barner
16 Harvey Dennis
17 Charlie Wright
18 James Skinner
Devon County FA