Attitude, attitude the word of the day, on Tuesday 18th April as Willand Rover Under 18’s and Elmore Youth showed incredible determination, pride and respect on a day where a two squads of young men were fighting it out to be crowned U18 County Cup Champions.
However, it was Willand Rovers U18’s who eventually showed their skill and composure in the final third of the field, as three goals from Whittaker, Fry and Ewing were enough to take the trophy back to Willand.
On a dry and sunny evening at Coach Road, County HQ, both teams came into the final with their heads held high after comfortable victories in the semi-final of the Wotton Printer U18 County Cup saw Willand Rovers U18 face Elmore Youth for a 7:15pm KO.
The ball started rolling, as referee on the evening, Gary Hammon, blew his whistle to start the game.
There were no real opportunities for either side in the opening parts of the game as both teams were testing each other tactically, with long balls in the air and contemplating playing the ball through the line.
Yet, it was Willand Rovers who were destined to break the deadlock, as in the 10th minute midfielder for Willand, Stan Whittaker, found himself breaking into the area onto a loose ball played through by Rovers No.9, Levi Edwardson, his initial shot was blocked by Elmore defender, Butts, however the ball bounced back to Whittaker to make it 1-0 to Willand, slotting the ball into an empty net.
Elmore were determined to equalise quickly, chipping away at an extremely resilient Willand defence, yet they were trying to open up a back line that were cool, compact and spirited, even with the substitution of highly rated striker, Mason King coming onto the field early in the game.
The game had only entered the first 25 minutes, as Willand target man and County representative, Levi Edwardson, fell awkwardly, unchallenged, trying to block a ball down the line, resulting in a change for Willand, as he was replaced by another County rep, Oscar Walsh.
The first half drew to a close and the referee called proceedings to an end for the first 45 minutes with Willand leading Elmore by one goal to nil.
Elmore restarted the second half of the Wotton Printers U18 County Cup by kicking from right to left, with the sun setting over Coach Road and a superbly supported crowd of 100, made up of family and friends.
Yet, it was No.14 for Willand Rovers, Kieran Fry, who decided to double their advantage in the 73rd minute, showing immense speed and acceleration on the edge of the Elmore area to get in behind the defence and side-footed the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
Making it 2-0 to Willand with over 15 minutes to go.
One of the star players on the night, Jordan Ewing of Willand U18, was starting to take advantage of a tiring Elmore side in the final 15 minutes of the game, as they were looking to find a way back into the game. In the 75th minute, Ewing played a lovely on-two with Fry, however his shot on the edge of the box was well saved by Bradley Davey, who had a brilliant game on the night.
Only two minutes later, Willand No.10, Ewing made sure there was no way back for Elmore as a lovely floated ball from Joe McKenzie to the far post found Ewing, comfortably nodding it home making it 3-0 and made sure him and his team-mates would be crowned winners.
However, to Elmore’s credit they would not go down without fighting, yet it was too late and Willand held on.
The referee blew the final whistle and brought the game to an end, an incredibly well contested County Cup Final by both teams as they shook hands knowing they had the up most respect for each other.
Read more at http://www.devonfa.com/news/2017/apr/wotton-printers-u18-county-cup-match-report#l743sbTuOQIItSAX.99