Our Under 18 team’s hopes of a prolonged run in this season’s FA County Youth Cup competition were dashed on Saturday last, 23rd November. We travelled to Newton Abbot to play our 2nd round match, against Devon FA, at their picturesque Coach Road venue and encountered a very good home side in top form. Devon’s 7-2 winning margin did not flatter them.
Although understandably heavy following more than 24 hours continuous rain right up to the kick off time, the pitch was in good condition. The groundsman must be commended on his considerable efforts.
Our hosts came at us from the first whistle and never let up. We were not allowed to settle and struggled unsuccessfully to find cohesion for the entire match. Devon attacked in numbers and our defenders struggled to contain their mobile front runners.
Harry Cawdron. our goalkeeper was tested in the 1st minute, being forced into a fine save at close range from Ollie Holman. Then, in the 3rd minute, more goalmouth action produced a Devon corner kick, which was headed home by Josh Baxter to open the scoring.
Then home striker, Mani Skett burst clear up the middle and took the ball around Harry Cawdron. However, Harry’s advance off of his line forced Mani to go wide and pass across the face of the empty net. Almost immediately afterwards, Mani turned a defender but fired past the post.
As the half progressed we came more into the match and a long ball hit into the Devon penalty area eluded our strikers’ heads. Half an hour had elapsed before we forced the home custodian, the tall Josh Nicol, into serious action, when he parried Kevin Nyarko’s angled shot. Josh then used his reach to keep out a header into the top corner from Ryan Morgan.
Our hardworking captain, Teo Kurtaran tried a shot, which cleared the bar from around 25 yards but Harry Cawdron continued to see plenty of the ball as Devon’s formidable attacking force of Mani Skett, Ollie Holman and Cole Harford tore into our defence.
Harry held a deflected free kick, taken from just outside the penalty area by Ollie Holman and then prevented what appeared to be a certain goal by Mani Skett, who had been set up by Josh Parry.
However, Devon added to their lead in the 38th minute, through Joe Wylie, who finished off some good approach work.
Connor Manning brought a low diving save from Josh Nicol but Devon went 3-0 up in the 44th minute, when Mani Skett outpaced Jack Warburton and took the ball around Harry to plant it into the net.
Half time score: Devon 3 Middlesex 0
Any hope of a second half comeback was forgotten after a further 5 minutes play, when Mani Skett was fouled on a run across the penalty box. He took the kick himself and sent Harry Cawdron the wrong way with an unstoppable shot.
Ollie Holman took the ball through the middle to score Devon’s 5th goal in the 58th minute.
We pulled a goal back in the 77th minute through Kevin Nyarko, whose shot crossed the goal line via the post and the goalkeeper.
Devon went straight down the other end, where Mani Skett completed his hat trick and restored his team’s 5 goal advantage.
Charlie Miller crashed the ball into the roof of our net to make the score 7-1 after 86 minutes.
Kahlil Francis completed the scoring in the 88th minute by heading Teo Kurtaran’s cross home.
Final score: Devon 7 Middlesex 2
The Referee, Phillip Eddie enjoyed an excellent rapport with the players and had a very good match. He was well supported by his assistant referees.
Our thanks are given to Devon FA for their warm welcome and superb off field hospitality. We wish them well in the next round of the competition.
Devon: Josh Nicol (Bovey Tracey), Charlie Miller (Bovey Tracey), Owen Price (Torquay United u18), Louis Edmundson (Torquay United u18), Matt Wood (Elmore AFC) (capt), Josh Baxter (Torquay United u18), Joe Wylie (Wellington Town), Cole Harford (Stoke Gabriel), Mani Skett (Buckland Athletic), Ollie Holman (Wellington Town) and Josh Parry (Watcombe Wanderers).
Substitutes: Jamie Passmore (Newton Abbot Spurs) for Ollie Holman (65 mins), Owen Raven (Torpoint Athletic) for Joe Wylie (74 mins), Ryan White (Elmore AFC) for Mani Skett (79 mins). Not used: Matt Roberts (Bovey Tracey), Bartock Zarzycki (Lakeside Athletic) and Jim Weeks (Ivybridge).
Manager: Jason Rainey Assistant Manager: Pete Buckingham GK Coach: Barry Knox Physio: Chris Skinner.
Middlesex: Harry Cawdron (Hanworth Villa), Bryant Okono-Bilongo (Hanworth Villa), Albi Balaj (Hanwell Town), Teo Kurtaran (Hanworth Villa) (capt), Declan Skura (Hanworth Villa), Jack Warburton (Wealdstone), Michael Koscien (Edgware Town), Connor Manning (Hanworth Villa), Kahlil Francis (Edgware Town), Ryan Morgan (Wealdstone) and Kevin Nyarko (Hanworth Villa).
Substitutes: Lonit Talla (Uxbridge) for Albi Balaj (46 mins), Felix Amoah (Edgware Town) for Ryan Morgan (65 mins), Lindell Stewart (Hanwell Town) for Jack Warburton (65 mins). Not used: Hassan Habimana (Hanworth Villa), Trevan Robinson (Hanwell Town) and Eric Negraru (Uxbridge) (goalkeeper).
Manager: John Fletcher Assistant Manager: Darrel Gyngell Coach: Wayne Little Physio: Gary Strudwick.
Referee: Phillip Eddie (Royal Navy) Assistant Referees: David Middleton (Somerset) and Gareth Jones (Royal Navy)