Wembdon 4 Willand U15’s 2 (AET) (Taunton and District League Cup Final)
The Rovers U15’s team came up against their sternest test to date in taking on a very strong Wembdon team in the Taunton and District League Cup Final played at Bridgwater Town FC.
Rovers had gone through their league season with a 100% record in winning the Division Two title, but coming up against a Wembdon team who won the League One crown at a canter was as tough an ask as possible.
The first half began with Wembdon having the huge advantage of a strong wind which made it difficult for the Willand team who had to defend resolutely against a string of set pieces. Goalkeeper Ben Gubb however made two excellent saves to keep his side in the game, and the defensive line of Haydn Tucker, Oli Billings, Matt Futcher and Chris Badcott were standing firm. Willand were reliant on playing a counter attacking game and wingers Christian Whales and Oscar Walsh ably supported by Josh Herbert and the tireless Sam Ayers were continuing to keep the Wembdon defence on their toes.
The game began to resemble a game of chess in the middle third of the pitch with Captain Tom Jeacock and lynchpin Jacob Turner battling hard with their Wembdon counterparts. Fresh Legs were introduced with the introduction of No 10 Garreth Blackmore and then winger Kai Morgan to try and get to the break on level terms. This Willand did without too much difficulty and therefore it ended 0-0 at the end of the first half.
The second half saw Willand take advantage of the wind within ten minutes of the restart when flying winger Kai Morgan finished an excellent move down the right to give Willand a 1-0 advantage. Further substitutions were made in the second period with Harry Taylor slotting in seamlessly into the left back position and Aiden Harrison who once more proved his versatility down the right flank. Wembdon began to pile on the pressure and the Rovers were now on the back foot and having to soak up immense pressure. That pressure saw Wembdon score two goals to edge back in front but Willand heads didn’t drop as they sought a way back into the game. When you need a goal you need a player with real star quality and boy did Oscar Walsh deliver on the big stage. From a direct free kick fully 35 yards out Walsh smashed the ball into the top corner to level the match at 2-2 with ten minutes of normal time remaining. Despite chances for both teams the full time whistle blew at 2-2.
Extra time for the Willand lads nearly all of which had played the day before was in the end just too much to ask and two goals in the final five minutes of extra time saw Wembdon triumph in what had been an absorbing encounter from start to finish. All of the Willand boys gave everything and can feel rightly proud of their performances. Next season they go forward with confidence in League One and if they carry on progressing as they are should feel they have as good a chance as any team in winning the league title.
Man of the Match was Chris Badcott who was unstoppable at centre half.
Goals were shared out on the day between Oscar Walsh 1 and Kai Morgan 1
The Willand Line up: Ben Gubb, Haydn Tucker, Tom Jeacock (Capt), Jacob Turner, Chris Badcott, Matt Futcher, Oli Billings, Christian Whales, Oscar Walsh, Sam Ayers, Josh Herbert. Subs: Harry Taylor, Ryan Borkowski, Aiden Harrison, Gareth Blackmore and Kai Morgan.