Scott Richards Solicitors Devon Under 14 Boys Cup Final
Topsham Town u14 Tigers 3 – 2 Horrabridge Rangers Youth
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 14/05/2022
This East v West Devon match up promised much and didn’t disappoint. After only five minutes play, during which Nathan Bochenski tested Horrabridge keeper O’Kane, doing well at his near post to push the close range effort for a corner, goals started to flow. The resulting corner came to nothing but, after a poor clearance, the ball was crossed back in from the right where it struck the far post and landed at the feet of Bochenski just inside the box, his right foot shot giving O’Kane no chance. One nil to Topsham who were already showing their strength in attack.
Their lead was short lived however as Horrabridge, stung bay that early reverse, went on the offensive forcing two corners in quick succession, the second of which was swung in from the right onto the head of Jack Brimming who made no mistake to bring the scores level. Horrabridge continued to press with Jock Orchard working hard to keep them on the offensive and on 12 minutes he found Sam Pearson whose effort from the edge of the box flew just wide. The game had begun to open up, but few chances were created until, somewhat surprisingly, in the 20th minute Topsham went ahead again.
Awarded a free kick some 25 yards out on the right side, Cobin Rice stepped forward to take it. As both teams waited in the penalty area for a cross which never came, so Rice blasted a shot over the head of O’Kane into the roof of the net. 2 - 1 to Topsham now and no more than they deserved.
Topsham were seeing more of the ball now and in the 28th minute went further ahead through Nathan Blackmore who, at the near post, nodded home a corner taken by Bishop. The remainder of the half yielded few opportunities and after one minute of added time the half time whistle came with the score 3 – 1 to Topsham.
The restart began with a bang as Horrabridge’s Collier raced through the left side of the Topsham defence and sent in a low cross to Orchard who slotted from close in at the far post. Three-two now and all to play for. In the 43rd minute they should have levelled the score, G Bills sliding a pass down the line to Orchard whose pinpoint cross from the right found Rothwell, who directed his header straight at Zak Stephens in the Topsham goal.
The Topsham defence tightened up with Troy Jackson prominent in keeping the Horrabridge forwards at bay and as a result scoring chances were at a premium. Both coaches made substitutions using the repeat system, but it was largely Horrabridge who were on top in this second 35 minute period.
On 45 minutes Orchard sent in an inswinging cross from the right which evaded all of his teammates who were slow to catch up. In the 52nd minute Harley Collier was put clean through the Topsham back line but could only watch in despair as his strike came back off the post. Orchard was being given the freedom of the right wing and firing in crosses almost at will, but the Topsham defence were holding firm.
Topsham should have clinched the game on 64 minutes as Rice got on the end of a cross from the right but inexplicably dragged his shot wide from inside the six yard box. At the other end Jackson again did well to break up yet another Horrabridge attack, taking the ball off the toe of Ollie Stoate as he shaped to shoot.
Four minutes were added and, in the third of those, Callum Wellman, clean through on goal , placed his shot just wide of the onrushing O’Kane and the far post. Horrabridge went straight down the other end but, despite all their pressure during the second half, couldn’t really test Stephens in the Topsham goal and so, Topsham ran out winners by three goals to two.
Player of the Match – Troy Jackson (Topsham Town Tigers)