Celebrations after third goal

A robust performance by the Devon girls sees them through to semi-final

The Devon Schools FA Under 16 Girls took on their Sussex opposition over the weekend.

The Sussex girls kicked off this eagerly awaited cup tie, but Devon appeared to start the stronger, testing the Sussex defence down both flanks. The first incident of note came in the fifth minute when a mix up between the Sussex right back and goalkeeper, Mia Robinson, resulted in the latter racing back to clear the rolling ball off the goal line. At the other end, in the eighth minute, Georgie Knott did well to clear from a Sussex free kick played dangerously into the Devon penalty area.

In the twelfth minute Devon went ahead. Georgia Vaccaro, racing down the inside-right channel was tripped twenty five yards out. Up stepped Issi Hebard to lash the free kick into the top right corner of Robinson’s goal giving her no chance. One nil to Devon and just what they needed to settle themselves into the game. However, in the sixteenth minute, having seemingly dealt with the Sussex response, a third corner in quick succession was needlessly given away and up popped Jess Fry, arguably the smallest player in the box, to bullet home a header from four yards and bring the scores level.

Despite that setback Devon had settled into the game well and, with centre back Amii Kearley organising her defence, Sussex had very little to offer in the final third as Devon took control of the midfield. In the twenty-first minute Knott put Vaccaro through but she couldn’t get the ball under control. A minute later, from a corner won by Izzy Firth, Kayleigh Turner met the cross well but couldn’t quite direct her header towards goal. Devon were well on top now but, despite winning a number of corner kicks which were directed well into the danger area, the strikers were unable to make contact.

Then with just two minutes to go before half time Vaccaro, latching on to a poor clearance from Middlesex, raced into the box to place a delightful strike across Robinson into the far corner of the net and send Devon in at the break leading by two goals to one.

The second half began with Devon straight onto the attack and, within four minutes, had tested Robinson as Hebard, getting on the end of a whipped cross from Vaccaro, blasted a shot straight at her from six yards. In the forty-fifth minute Devon had three chances to increase their lead, Faye Dixon firing over the bar twice in quick succession, both from twenty yards out, and then Knott shooting straight at the keeper.

The Devon girls could have been made to regret missing these chances as, in the forty-seventh minute, Sussex’s Siobhan McMahon raced down the right wing and flashed in a sharp low cross which Devon’s custodian, Lily Felgate did well to grasp. Devon were soon back on the attack with Knott going close with a cross-shot and an effort from Vaccaro well held by Robinson. It wasn’t all going Devon’s way as, on the hour mark, Kearley was forced make a great tackle to prevent a Sussex breakthrough.

In the sixty sixth minute Hebard had a shot well saved at the near post and a minute later Dixon saw her drive from twenty five yards saved.

Kiesha Walker, on as a substitute, saw her seventy-forth minute header well saved by Robinson. Two minutes later a Vaccaro shot was deflected for a corner, and it seemed that a third goal to seal the tie might never come. However, in the last minute of the game, Faye Dixon’s well hit a shot from the edge of the box went in off the post to make the game safe and take Devon into the semi-final.


Player of the match – Amii Kearley (Devon)


Devon Squad:- Lily Felgate (Lipson Academy), Amii Kearley (Sir John Hunt Academy), Ava Beattie (The Park School), Kayleigh Turner (Stoke Damerel CC), Roxy Thomas (Eggbuckland CC), Georgie Knott (Ivybridge CC) Faye Dixon (St Peters CoE), Amelia Heale (Brixham College), Issi Hebard (Braunton Academy), Izzy Firth (Ivybridge CC), Georgia Vaccaro (St Cuthbert Mayne), subs Phoebe Bettey (Plympton Academy) Kiesha Walker (Ivybridge CC), Lily Mearns (ISCA Academy), Lily Coaker (St Cuthbert Mayne), Maisie Powell-Rider (Plympton Academy).