Devon County Youth League
May 3rd 2015
Clyst Valley Rovers 2 Willand Rovers 3 (HT 2-2) Tillett, Gibbins 2
A couple of sharp showers improved the surface ahead of todays game at Clyst Valley’s neat ground at Winslade Park. The league fixture here in the autumn was close and it was as close today.
Willand Rovers had a bare 12 to choose from. After their winning County Cup Final performance on Tuesday, players were unavailable due to exams, work and injury, while another somehow found himself broken down in Torquay.
Before the kick-off, the Willand players were a little spirited in the warm-up but with only 1 substitute to call upon, they were told not to waste to much energy. Clyst Valley proved difficult to break down when the sides last met at Speeds Meadow for the title clincher 3 weeks ago, so strong legs might well be needed until the end.
The game kicked off and Willand started very brightly but found themselves a goal down after 2 minutes when a simple in-swinging free-kick from the right bounced once in the 6 yard area ghosting past defenders and goalkeeper Jez Cross into the far corner. 0-1.
Willand came close twice to unlocking the Valley defence (including a disallowed goal from Sam Johnson when it seemed the “foul” was by a home defender on a team-mate) before Jordan Major swung a terrific curling cross over the home defence for Jake Tillett running-in to deftly volley home the equaliser on 26 minutes. Tillett’s first touch has been noted on many occasions this season as a reason why he should push on to a good standard of senior football.
Willand were coming forward at every opportunity but couldn’t quite unlock the Clyst Valley defence. On 34 minutes, right back Alex Wright broke into the opposite third, and glided past 3 players before firing a wickedly dipping shot which cannoned off the cross bar to safety.
Shortly afterwards, Valley were fortuitously ahead again. A deep, looping cross from the right deceived everyone including the despairing dive from Cross and went in off the far post. 1-2. This goal was probably a little flukey but yet again, the home team led. Cross did reprieve himself with safe gloves from a couple of distance drives from freekicks though and he played well, with safe hands and generally good distribution.
Willand just couldn’t quite get the equaliser. Tillett missed a great chance to square things up (his shot went just wide) but just as the half was petering out, Alex Gibbins collected a ball centrally 25 yards out, turned and drilled it powerfully low past the keeper’s right hand right on 45′. As soon as the game restarted, the referee blew his whistle to end the half.
The second half was largely one-way traffic and while Jordan Major (especially) and Ash Matthews held the defence firm, the forwards did their utmost to bring the best out of the Clyst ‘keeper. His saves especially from Gibbins and a brilliant block with a defender to deny Tillet a tap-in, as well as tipping shots over and round the post from Jordan Armstrong and Johnson were incredible, really……
But Willand would not be denied a winner and with 8 minutes to go, Jordan Bastin, Man of the Match, again tricked his way to the goal line and again drilled over a low cross which Gibbins met on the run at the far post. 3-2 – phew!
It was no more than the team deserved but after Tuesday nights wasted chances, the team left it very late again.
Reeces Browning and Kingdom played very well today too in a true all-round team performance.