Devon County Youth League

Thursday 23rd April (St George’s Day)

Willand Rovers 3 Alphington 1 HT 1-1  Kingdom, Bickle, Vittles

A balmy day gave way to a balmy evening as Alphington were welcomed to Silver Street for this Subsidiary Cup tie. Referee Dave Pointing got the game under way and after a time, Brian Holmes came along to run the line for Willand – thanks Brian.

Willand had secured the league title on Sunday and next Tuesday, they have the County Cup Final at Newton Abbot to look forward to. So many of the players had half an eye on their performance ahead of that game.

So it was a tentative start to the fixture yet after 20 minutes, there was little to show in the way of good openings or chances created. Both teams are capable of good football but the surface didn’t help and when final passes went astray as they did, Willand got frustrated trying to force it.

After 30 minutes, though, Willand increased their passing tempo and suddenly Bickle and Tillett got in behind. From a Bickle run into the box, Tarji Jones flashed a goal-bound screamer which was quite brilliantly tipped round the post. From the corner, Willand worked the ball around the area before Reece Kingdom steadied himself and then drilled a low shot past the ‘keepers right hand. 1-0.

But Willand couldn’t capitalise on their supremacy at this point. After 37′, Alphington began a flowing passing move which ended with a shot that Jez Cross couldn’t keep out. 1-1. A very good and classy goal.

After the break though, it was a different Willand and they had a purpose. They were playing on the front-foot and the tempo was exciting. Jones and Bickle were working the right flank, while Tillet was probing the left. Alphington had all hands to the pump and couldn’t really venture forward so most of the play was in their half.

JJ Vittles came on and hit the post after good work by Jordan Bastin, who thrives in circumstances like this. His touch is excellent and tonight it was as if the ball was glued to his foot. He was driving at the Alphington defence and several times he carved open opportunities.

Then Willand hit the bar before a corner was not cleared and Ben Bickle lashed home a volley from 6 yards. 2-1.

Alphington came back and with some tidy football couldn’t quite contrive the final pass to engineer a clear opening. Jordan major and Ash Matthews were exceptionally steady tonight.

Willand got a third when again good flank work led to a cross and Vittles finished off the move with a deft finish. 3-1 with 6 minutes to go.

In the last minute, Major gave away a penalty but the ensuing spot-kick was chipped over the bar.

The margin of victory was about right. Reece Browning also played well at left back, as did Jez Cross in goal and Sam Johnson up front.

This was this under 18s last home game at Silver Street and many thanks to Trina for organising the food again and Mary for running the bar!