Sunday 14th September 2014
Devon County Youth League under 18s
Willand Rovers 7 Barnstaple Town 2
HT 1-0. Vittles 3 (1 pen), Tillett, Aplin, Trump, OG.
After the longest pre-season I can recall, the White Ravens took to the Silver Street pitch a day after a famous FA Cup win for the 1st XI, bristling with energy and belief, writes Nick Miles.
Mr Brian Holmes started the season and the hosts were really on it as they chased the visitors down in every third. But chances came and chances went as the forwards could not find the target, or beat the ‘keeper of the woodwork. Barnstaple were yet to really trouble the Ravens back four but it was beginning to look like one of those games when, from a Jez Cross throw-out, ReeceKingdom found Jordan Bastin whose sublime pass found JJ Vittles. For a second, it looked like he missed the opening as he let the ball roll across his body but suddenly he rifled a low shot home. 1-0 after 27′. But to be comfortable, the team needed a second. Barnstaple worked hard and on occasion found themselves with set-piece opportunities from 25 yards. Their second attempt caused havoc in the hosts area and when the ball was bundled home for an unlikely equaliser, there was relief all round when the referee’s assistant put up his flag. Into the second half and the pattern of play was the same but still no joy until….. Jordan Bastin who worked hard all game, weighted a delightful pass behind the Barnstaple right back for Jake Tillet to run onto and provide a one-touch finish. Minutes later, Tillet got down the left again and his deft cross was met with an excellent Vittles header for 3-0. Suddenly, though Barnstaple got a goal back when a slip by a defender let in their striker. 3-1. Sam Rawlings was busy up front and when he was bundled over, JJ stepped up to complete his hat-trick for 4-1. Then Ryan Trump got in on the action. Having come in from the right he lashed a 25 yard shot over the ‘keeper for an excellent goal and with his first touch. Then Barnstaple showed what a funny old game this is. A 25 yard free-kick was brilliantly struck and came back off the bar only to hit Jez Cross and the ball bounced kindly for a forward to simply chest in. But Cas Aplin renewed the 4 goal advantage when he broke with purpose into the visitors box and slipped a composed shot beyond the keeper. The scoring was finished when Tillet (now at left full-back) got round the back again and his low cross was unfortunately turned into his own net. There was an abundance of quality today for the 50 or so spectators and bundles of energy. Barnstaple certainly played their part but special mention to Ash Mathews, Jordan Major and Jack Rawlings. Cameron Wright came on with half an hour to go and showed that there is some depth to this side while Reece Browning and Harry Lovegrove are improving with every fixture in the full-back positions. Man of the Match without a doubt was Jake Tillet. Clever, skilful, pacey and committed his performance was outstanding.