Sunday, October 19th 2014
Devon County Youth League
Sidmouth Junior Vikings 2 Willand Rovers 8
(HT 1-3) Vittles, OG (2), Bastin, Browning, Rawlings, Trump (2)

Tropical Storm Gonzalo swept through Byes Lane, Sidford, as the visitors blew hot and cold on their way to a comfortable win.

There is no doubt that this Willand side is talented and plays good football, but the team can also be so frustrating. Today, the visitors started as well as they did at Clyst Valley the week before – albeit 3 minutes further into the contest.

After 3 minutes, the White ravens were ahead as JJ back-heeled home a Tarji Jones pass following good build-up play on the right through Jordan Bastin and jack Rawlings.

After 6 minutes, it was 2-0 when a defender deflected Jones’ powerful close range shot in at the near post. There was running and invention as passes were

Perhaps thinking the game would be a stroll after their early double strike, the visitors switched off in key areas. Sidmouth had shown little in the opening exchanges, but following the restart, they pumped the ball forward early to their strikers who enjoyed running at the Willand rearguard.

Penalty. having lost possession in the opposition half, a long pass into their striker was played forward well into the area. Ash Matthews went to ground to clear the ball but at his second attempt, he took the tall striker down and no mistake was made from the spot. 2-1 after 13′.

Minutes later, Sidmouth were awarded a freekick 20 yards out following a disputed decision from what looked like an excellent interception by Jordan Major. The shot that came in was diverted onto the Rovers’ crossbar and then brilliantly headed away from the open goal by Matthews.

Willand were huffing and puffing but the final pass would not present a chance and having had one warning, they worked hard not to allow another. Challenges went in and 2 late ones by Willand were penalised by the referee, who had a good game. There was nothing malicious but this is football not crown green bowls and these aren’t kids, they are youths; young men bordering on playing senior football for the rest of their playing careers. Credit to the Sidmouth players who were making a real game of it and they weren’t shy in the challenge either.

During this period of play, Willand rolled Sam Johnson and Sam Rawlings off and within minutes, Johno won a penalty. Like Tillet, Johno took on players but having got passed 2, the third tackled and only got the player. Bastin made no mistake from the spot. 3-1 at the break.

Into the second half, and despite good early running and a missed header from 6 yards for a 3 goal lead, it was Sidmouth who struck first. Captain Matthews, who had a much better game afterwards, let a ball go under his foot and when it fell to a home forward, how sweetly he struck it past Jez Cross from 18 yards. 3-2.

That was the last chance created in the game by Sidmouth. Although both goals had been gifted by the Rovers’ defence, the hosts would remain a threat.

Reece Browning came on a left back and the first contribution he made was to head home a Bastin corner at the far left post. It was his first for the club and he enjoyed the moment. 4-2.

Chance after chance came. Some went in, others didn’t. The home keeper had a good game – indeed, a very good game. When he went full length to tip a Bastin drive around the post, everyone applauded.

But the goalkeeper’s nemesis was Ryan Trump who from 2 set-pieces grabbed a brace from close-in. He is the smallest player in the team but very diminutive. In between, Sam Rawlings scored from close range too.

Overall, 8-2. Sidmouth had some notable contributors, aside from their keeper. Up front, 2 willing runners and in centre mid, a playmaker and at centreback, a leader who makes them tick.

But today, Willand were too good and too strong. Some of the play was excellent and the goal of the game was the Ravens 5th goal which started from the back and was rounded off by Ryan Trump. Reece Kingdom put in another excellent shift and typified the type of energy and desire the team needs to get into a game, stay in it and then win. Cam Wright came on in the second half and was unlucky not to score and both Rawlings boys worked well again. Strong performances throughout the Willand Rovers team, especially in the second half.