Spirited Devon Girls Fall to Gloucestershire

Devon Schools FA U16 Girls fell to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire in the ESFA U16 Girls County Cup Semi-Final.

ESFA Under 16s Girls Inter County Cup Semi-Final

   Devon 2 – 4 Gloucestershire

 Played at Devon County FA Headquarters, Coach Road, Newton Abbot, 08.03.2024

The Devon girls kicked off but soon found themselves on the back foot as, within two minutes, they were a goal behind. Lily Felgate, Devon’s goalkeeper, did well to punch clear a cross from a crowded six yard box, only to find Gloucestershire’s Emily Giddings on the edge of the penalty area.  She  made no mistake in driving her shot back past Felgate. One nil to Gloucestershire who continued to put pressure on the Devon defence. However, they were almost caught out as, in the tenth minute, Devon’s Georgia Vaccaro got on the end of a cross from the left, but her close range shot was cleared off the line.

Gloucestershire were beginning to show their strength and doubled their lead in the fourteenth minute, Macy Walby finding space on the right and arrowing her shot from thirty yards into the far corner of the Devon net giving Felgate no chance. Two nil now and already looking like an uphill task for the Devon girls with Erin Freeman marshalling the Gloucestershire defence who were closing down the space in the middle third well.

 In the twenty third minute Devon’s Issi Hebard broke through from the left but dragged her shot wide from the edge of the box. That was about as good as it got for Devon as Gloucestershire piled on the pressure seeking a third goal to make the game safe. In the twenty sixth minute Gloucestershire’s Chloe Giddings dragged a strike from the edge of the box just wide of the far post. A minute later it was Giddings again, but her weak shot was easily dealt with by Felgate. In the thirty first minute Giddings picked up a loose clearance and cut inside to test Felgate with a right foot strike which was well saved.

Despite all their pressure Gloucestershire had to wait until the last minute of the half for that third goal, Erin Williams getting on the end of a pass from the right wing and chipping into the corner.

The half time interval came with Devon looking into the eyes of a heavy defeat, but their second half performance belied that view as, within three minutes of the restart, they got a goal back. Vaccaro, ever alert up front although seeing very little of the ball, pounced on a short back pass to take ball around Ella Stowell in the Gloucestershire goal to score at the near post.

That looked as if it might be the signal for a Devon comeback but, in the 46th minute, the three goal deficit was restored as a short back pass resulted in a penalty which was converted by Erin Freeman.

The Devon girls started to take control and in the forty ninth minute almost got another goal back. A strike from Hebard, twenty yards out crashed back off the crossbar. First to the rebound was Vaccaro whose shot was well saved by Stowell diving to her right. Despite the scoreline excitement was building and, in the fifty sixth minute, Devon were awarded a penalty for a foul on Georgie Knott which Vaccaro duly converted.

As the half went on Gloucestershire were being forced back and some desperate defending resulted in a series of corners being swung into the six yard box by Roxy Thomas, all of which were to no avail as the Devon girls were unable to get a meaningful touch to any of them. In the 70th minute, Thomas hit a fierce strike straight at Stowell. Two minutes later Vaccaro put a free header wide. In the 75th minute Gloucestershire almost caught Devon with swift break that resulted in Freya Weeks saving well from Jemima Guise. A minute later Vaccaro saw her strike from the edge of the box well saved by Stowell.

Both teams had given everything, and it is Gloucestershire who go on to the final.

Player of the match – Erin Freeman (Gloucestershire)

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 Bella Broad (Braunton Academy) Kiesha Walker (Ivybridge CC), Lily Mearns (ISCA Academy), Freya Weeks+ (Ivybridge CC), Maisie Powell-Rider (Plympton Academy).   


Report written by Dennis Smith
Devon County FA