Devon Miss Out On Chance To Be Crowned Group Champions

Devon missed out on topping their SWCC group on Thursday evening as they slipped to a 4-2 defeat to Cornwall FA.

South & West Counties Championship

 Devon Under 16s Boys  1– 4 Cornwall Under 16s Boys

Played at Devon County FA Headquarters, Coach Road, Newton Abbot, 28.03.2024

Devon miss out on chance to be crowned group champions.

Cornwall kicked off this potential championship decider, but it was Devon who mounted the first threat, with the pace of Lucas Robinson down the left, causing problems for his namesake Theo Robinson at right back for Cornwall, the final cross passied behind his fellow striker Toby Hard and the chance was lost.

Cornwall soon found their feet and with three minutes played should have taken the lead, Olly Redd racing into the Devon box only to hit the near post with his strike. Within a minute Cornwall were ahead, Olly Redd again skipping through the Devon defence before finding Owen Davies, whose shot was only partially blocked before landing in front of Rhys Simmonds and Ted Blatchford, who had the final touch to give his team the lead.

The game had opened up already and in the ninth minute Robinson again outstripped the Cornish defence only to see his shot pushed past the post by Cornwall’s keeper Johan Carvell. Devon had numbers up for the resulting corner which was headed wide at the far post. In the thirteenth minute another good chance for Devon was created by George Mulford, winning the ball in midfield and cutting through the Cornish defence but, having done the hard part, placing his shot just wide from the edge of the box.

In the sixteenth minute Redd was through the Devon back line again, his pass inside finding Simmonds who fired over the bar from fifteen yards. Three minutes later Blatchford made space for himself just inside the box, his strike bringing a great save out of Devon’s custodian, Alfie Moffitt. A minute later play had moved to the other end where Mulford again broke through but once again his strike was wide.

Cornwall gradually got on top and were giving the Devon defenders plenty to think about without really testing Moffitt in the Devon goal. However, in the thirtieth minute Cornwall went two up, Davies pounced on a poor clearance thirty yards out and blasted an unstoppable strike past Moffitt into the top left corner of the net.

The last ten minutes of the half were all Cornwall and to some extent the Devon boys were fortunate to be only two goals down and still in the game. A good save from Moffit to deny Blatchford and an offside flag ruling out Simmonds strike for the all-important third goal brought the half to close when things could have been a lot worse.

Devon opened up the second period with some pace and in the forty-fifth minute had a good chance to reduce the arrears. Logan Curnow fouled Mulford just outside the box earning himself a yellow card. Toby Hard’s free kick was blocked by the Cornish defensive wall, the rebound coming back to Hard who fired wide. Two minutes later Devon’s Ellis Drew was booked for a foul on Curnow.

In the forty-eighth minute Devon introduced George Richardson and Zack Williams in place of Mulford and Hard and started to gain the upper hand in midfield, Richardson, in particular, carrying the ball forward and creating difficulties for the Cornish defence. In the fifty-first minute Owen Davies picked up a booking for a poor challenge, to ease the pressure on his defenders, but it was Devon who scored next, halving the deficit through Zack Williams who got on the end of a cross-field ball to strike from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net, giving Cavell no chance.

The Devon boys, lifted by the goal, took control of the midfield but were unable to produce anything of note in the final third and ultimately that probably cost them the game as Cornwall’s ’management team, seeing the danger, stopped them in their tracks with a quadruple substitution. In the sixty-second minute Davies, Curnow, Johan Allen and Liam Higgins were replaced by Levi Hilling, Felis Strugnell, Harvey Dougan and Ted Basterfield. Within a minute Cornwall had restored there two goal advantage. Amid the apparent confusion in the Devon defence Redd was found unmarked on the left edge of the six yard box to gleefully strike the ball into the back of the net.

Cornwall’s tails were up now and with ten minutes left Blatchford made sure of victory, racing through the Devon back line to score his second goal from close range. The Devon Boys kept their heads up and in the 75th minute Cody Stansfield saw his shot from the edge of the box deflected for a corner, the resulting cross headed wide by Richardson.

There remains one game left in the group as Devon are due to face Somerset at Coach Road on 18th April when they will need to overturn a goal difference of six to claim the trophy.

Star player – Rhys Simmonds (Cornwall)

Devon Squad:- 1 Alfie Moffit, 2 Steven Cole, 3 Ellis Drew, 4 Owen Bailey, 5 Blake Taylor, 6 Samuel Pearson,

                        7 Cody Stansfield, 8 Harry Page, 9 Toby Hard, 10 George Mulford 11 Lucas Robinson,

                        12 Charlie Patrick, 13 Benjamin Rich, 14, Zack Williams, 15 Kamil Wojtowicz, 16 George Richardson.


Written by Dennis Smith
Devon County FA