Forward Fires Queen and Con to Cup Glory

A four goal haul from Luke Forward fired Queen and Constitution to victory in the Stitch3Sixty Devon Sunday Senior Cup

Stitch 3 Sixty Devon Sunday Senior Cup Final

Tamar View Sunday  1 v  6   Queen and Constitution

Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot  02/04/2023

A four goal haul from Queens’ Luke Forward plus two from substitute Chris Wright, all in the second half, turned this game on its head as his team deservedly took the honours in this typical game of two halves.

The holders, Tamar View, looked to complete a cup final double over their rivals whom they defeated on penalties last year, but it was not to be. During a goalless first half in which few chances were created, albeit that there was a crazy incident on seven minutes when Queen’s Stirling Woodside tried to pass back for his keeper, Ashley Kelly to clear. The keeper ran past the ball and Woodside had to dash back and complete the clearance himself, thereby conceding an indirect free kick ten yards out which Tamar failed to take advantage of.

In the 12th minute Queen’s Ray Spear blasted a free kick through the Tamar wall which was comfortably dealt with by the Tamar custodian Lewis Cloak. On 15 minutes Queen made an early substitution replacing Tyler Yndle, who appeared to be carrying an injury, with Gary Heasman.

The next incident of note came when Tamar’s Ash Evans swung in a cross but Henry Tank, headed just wide when well placed to score. Three minutes later Forward blasted a left foot shot straight at Cloak. In the 32nd minute Joe Barwell thought he had put Tamar in front, heading a free kick past Kelly only to see the linesman had flagged for offside and, in the 38th minute, Forward missed a really good opportunity. Kelly came out of the penalty area to clear and was robbed by Forward whose chipped effort hit the post and was cleared. The half time interval came with neither side able to break the deadlock, the score remaining at nil-nil.

The game opened up in the second period with both sides having early chances. In the 28th minute Queen’s Steve Edwards was clean through, but his chipped effort cleared both Cloak and the crossbar. A minute later, at the other end, Tank went past Kelly but hit the post with his finish.

The deadlock was almost broken in the 52nd minute when Tamar’s Ash Evans saw his fierce drive from the edge of the box towards the top corner brilliantly saved by Kelly, diving to his right to push the ball behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner, taken by Evans, Kelly tried to push the ball clear but only succeeded in finding Kiaran Bond just beyond the far post. He headed the ball towards the edge of the box where Tom McDonald was able to find Evans coming in from the left. He cut inside, and from eighteen yards beat Kelly, who got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent it crossing the line, at his near post to put Tamar ahead.

Queen’s management team responded immediately with a double substitution, Chris Wright for Edwards and Jordan Hogan for Danny Bance. The effect was almost immediate with Ashley Piggott being pushed further forward and in the 55th minute drawing free kick 5 yards outside the box. Bailey Gamble floated the kick into the box where it was met by Hogan, whose header back inside was blasted over the bar by Wright.

That instigated a substitution by Tamar who replaced Mc Donald with Bailey Mabin. Cloak took the goal kick and Piggott, in the Queen midfield, took advantage of some confusion in the Tamar ranks and found Danny Zalick on the edge of the box. His controlled chip to the far edge of the six yard box asked a question of Cloak who was too slow to gather and Forward, racing into the box, latched onto the loose ball and blasted home the equaliser from all of three yards.

Tamar’s response was almost immediate, and it was only some brilliance by Kelly that kept them out. First Mabin slotted Tank through one on one, the keeper saving with his feet. That was followed by Mabin winning the ball back in midfield and finding Evans on the right, whose cross found Zalick at the far post, Kelly performing miracles to keep out his powerful header.

That was the turning point as far as the Queen were concerned and they started to exert pressure on the Tamar back line. In the 65th minute the pressure told and Forward, latching on to a through ball down the line, raced into the box and fired his strike across Cloak into the far corner.

Two - one to the Queen now but In the 67th minute Tamar wasted a good chance to equalise. Queen lost the ball in midfield, and it was quickly played out to Evans. His cross was only pushed out as far as Tank whose out of control shot flew high and wide over the bar.

Tamar went on to regret that lost opportunity as Queen went on to score four more goals. In the 69th minute, following good hold play from Zalick on the right, the ball was played back to Gamble whose cross into box was nodded home by Wright. In the 73rd minute Wright again found a way into the six yard box to loop a header over Cloak into the corner of the net. Tamar had an opportunity in the 84th minute, Mabin, spotting Kelly off his line, putting his looping shot from 35 yards over the bar.

A minute later, at the other end, Forward completed his hat-trick giving Cloak no chance with a free kick from 22 yards out, and in the 90th minute, to add insult to injury, Forward scored his fourth, cutting through the Tamar defence to play a simple one-two and glide the return ball into the far corner of the net. After 3 minutes of added time referee Lee Roberts blew the final whistle with the score at six goals to one.

Man of the Match -  Luke Forward (Queen & Constitution).

Written by Dennis Smith

Devon County FA.