Sunday, October 5th 2014
Devon County FA Cup 2nd round
Horrabridge Rangers 3 Willand Rovers 7
(HT 1-5) Vittles 3, Kingdom 2, Tillet, Rawlings, S

It was a long trip to Dartmoor in the banterwagon and thankfully the team returned with their name in the hat for the next round.

The pitch was a far cry from Plainmoor ten days previous. It was narrow but the surface was very rutted and bumpy. Still, it would be the same for both teams.

As the Ravens attacked up the hill, they seemed disjointed though and not firing on all cylinders.

After 6 minutes, they were given a wake-up call. One of several hopeful long-balls to their hardworking centreforward caught visitors keeper, Jez Cross in 2 minds. As he arrived at the edge of his area, the Horrabridge forward got to the ball before Cross and Ash Matthews and the ball bounced over the goal line. 0-1.

Words were said and the team restarted the game with a job to do. JJ and Sam Rawlings were tireless up front and Reece Kingdom was working hard in midfield. Jordan Bastin was pulling the strings and chances soon started coming. Headers over or straight at the ‘keeper frustrated Willand who were playing the much better football. Tarji Jones and Jake Tillett were working well down both flanks and it was from a Tillet cross on 29′ the Vittles finally found the net with a simple header at the far right post.

The hosts came back though with very direct running and/or long balls down the hill. One opening saw the ball just bobble past the far post. It might be one of those days.

Suddenly 2 Rovers goals in 3 minutes as Tillett sneaked in and left the keeper flatfooted and then Reece Kingdom struck a sweet shot from 20 yards for 1-3.

Sam Rawlings was rewarded for all his running with a good finish from 8 yards and a minute before the break, a superb cross from the right to the far post was expertly directed home with his head by JJ. 1-5!

The second half was almost a formality but such games demand concentration and Willand were undone by it again. JJ missed from 3 yards after good work by Tarji before a long ball to their forwards released a forward. Cross came out to claim but the ball bounced away from him and the forward side-footed over the line. 2-5 on 60’.

Then within a minute the 4 goal advantage was restored as Tarji released Rawlings whose neat ball to JJ was expertly controlled around the advancing keeper for 2-6 and his hat-trick.

Then Kingdom struck again from 20 yards and for 2-7, the ‘keeper perhaps diving over the ball before Horrabridge grabbed a consolation 5 minutes from time.

Well played by Major, Bastin, Kingdom, Jones, Tillet and both Rawlings’. (And JJ of course!!). The pitch didn’t help but it was encouraging to see the Ravens try to play football throughout.

Finally, a big thanks to Horrabridge for laying on excellent food at the Leaping Salmon, ahead of a long but happy journey back in the banterwagon. Happy birthday to Reece Browning too!