Scott Richards Solicitors Devon Veterans Cup Final
Elburton Villa 6 - 1 Lakeside Athletic
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 14/04/2023
A brace from Lee Johnson plus goals from Nick Hill, Paul Thompson, Ian Thistlewaite and Kevin Kendall easily saw off a Lakeside team whose back line struggled to contain Johnson and the hardworking Hill. Elburton kicked off and were immediately on the front foot and almost went ahead in the 2nd minute, Johnson nodding home a headed cross from Dan Worth following a free kick from Justin Crowley, only to see the referee’s assistant flagging for offside.
Following some aggressive tackling from both teams and two attempts from Lakeside, the first from Lance Bailey who in the 4th minute blasted a 30 yard free kick just wide, and in the 12th minute Mark Berry, seeing his free kick from the edge of the box saved by Elburton keeper Adam Johns, it was Elburton who went ahead. In the 19th minute Johnson, unmarked at the far post, getting on the end of a cross from the right and giving Matt England in the Lakeside goal no chance.
In the 31st minute they went further ahead, Hill, using his pace to get behind a static Lakeside back line, and beating England at his near post to score his team’s second.
Elburton were well on top now and England did well to block a shot from Dan Worth who was put through down the middle. The third goal wasn’t far away though and, in the 37th minute, a pinpoint cross from hill found Thompson who made no mistake from ten yards out.
Right on half time Elburton almost had another, Justin Crowley blasting a free kick from distance which England was only able to gather at the second attempt, and the first half ended with Elburton leading by 3 goals to nil.
At the restart both teams made use of the repeat substitution system employed in veterans matches and it appeared that Lakeside started the fresher of the two teams. They attacked with intensity and in the 50th minute got some reward as one of the substitutes, Paul Baker, broke clear in the box to convert a cross from the left with a powerful left foot shot that gave Johns no chance, making the score three one.
However, two minutes later, Elburton’s advantage was restored, Johnson firing home his second and his teams fourth goal, into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Five minutes later Lakeside missed a good chance to reduce the deficit, Baker, who was finding space in behind the Elburton defence, heading a cross from Crowley just wide at the near post with Johns beaten.
Lakeside seemed to be getting on top but that all changed in the 64th minute, when Johnson broke clear of their defence and appeared to be brought down by England just outside the box. The obligatory red card was produced, and Paul Jago, the Lakeside captain, donned the gloves for the remainder of the match, his first job being to deal with the free kick, tipping the shot from Crowley onto the bar and over.
Lakeside reorganised but, with ten men, despite appearing to have more of the play, could not break down a resolute defence who restricted them to shots from distance that were no trouble for Johns.
As the game entered its final quarter Elburton, unsurprisingly, were able to find a route around the now three man Lakeside defence. In the 67th minute Hill raced clear down the right and swung over a cross which Thompson, well placed in the box, put just over the bar.
Elburton were not to be denied however, and they completed the rout with goals in the 79th minute, and in time added on from Thistlewaite with a stooped header, and Kendall with a right footed drive from the edge of the box which gave Jago no chance.
Lakeside finished as runners up but, to their great credit, they stayed on the pitch to applaud the victors as they collected their winners medals and the trophy from Harry Payne and Mervyn Benney, representing the sponsor Scott Richards Solicitors and the Devon County FA respectively.
Star Player - Nick Hill (Elburton Villa)
Written by Dennis Smith