A difficult day for the AFA youngsters ended in defeat for the second consecutive season at the Quarter-Final stage of the FA County Youth Cup.
Devon FA U18s 4-0 AFA U18s
Our under 18s traveled across to Devon FA on Saturday to fight for their place in the semi-final of the FA County Youth Cup.
The game got off to a quick start with Devon scoring in the 10th minute. Devon’s Cole Harford chased a ball to the byeline, cut back and shot firmly. AFA goalkeeper Harry Hauserman got down low to parry but the rebound looped up and was decisively headed home by Mani Skett.
Ten minutes later came the best AFA chance of the game: a lovely through-ball send Kevonte Willoughby-Williams clear but the Devon keeper, Josh Nicol, was off his line quickly to block the shot. An equaliser at that stage may have led to a different game, but after that chance, Devon took control.
Almost immediately, confusion in the AFA defence saw Hauserman and defender Miles John collide and John had to be substituted a few minutes later, necessitating a change to the backline. In the 38th minute, a quick corner from Devon saw a dangerous cross from Ollie Holman headed powerfully home by centre-back Matt Wood from just inside the goal area.
With a 2-goal deficit to make up in the 2nd half, it was imperative the AFA imposed themselves on the game and scored the next goal. Unfortunately, it was Devon who asserted their superiority from the re-start, going close with a low shot in the 48th minute and then shortly after had a close-range header over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
In the 59th minute came the most controversial moment of the afternoon, with a low Skett cross just evading the Devon forward sliding in. Whilst he was still prone on the goal line, Joe Wylie got his shot away and the ball seemed to hit the Devon player on its way into the net.
Matt Wood headed his 2nd of the afternoon in the 75th minute from another Devon corner to complete the scoring.
The last AFA effort of the game came 5 minutes from the end, with a decent low shot from substitute Aden Brazil, which was pushed wide of the near post by the solid Nicol.
Grateful thanks to all the players, families and travelling AFA contingent and to Devon FA for being such gracious hosts on a long and unfortunately ultimately disappointing trip. We wish Devon the best of luck for the remainder of the competition.
Nevertheless, the whole squad and management team should look back with pride at again reaching the Quarter-Finals of a national competition and the terrific wins over Sheffield & Hallamshire and Jersey earlier in the season.
Devon FA U18s: 1-Josh Nicol, 2-Charlie Miller, 3-Owen Price, 4-Louis Edmundson, 5-Matt Wood, 6-Josh Baxter, 7-Joe Wylie, 8-Cole Harford, 9-Mani Skett, 10-Ollie Holman, 11-Josh Parry
Subs: 12-Matt Roberts, 14-Owen Raven, 15-Ryan White, 16-Jamie Passmore, 17-Bartoz Zarzycki, 18-James Weeks, 19-Jacob Evans
Manager: Jason Rainey, Coaches: Peter Buckingham & Barry Knox, Physio: Steve Lilley
AFA U18s: 1-Harry Hauserman, 2-Ryan Murphy, 3-Ben Bellamy, 4-Finn Harvey, 5-David Ola (Capt.), 6-Miles John, 7-Rigert Rama, 8-Jude Elliot-Brown, 9-Kevonte Willoughby-Williams, 10-Josh Gunter, 11-Justin Dumfeh
Subs: 12-Aden Brazil, 14-Ewan Bland, 15-Rayon Atkinson, 16-Ben-Yvan Sylla
Manager: Pat Folan, Coach: Gary Casey
Referee: Robert Cockle (Gloucestershire FA)
Assistant Referee: Michael Halford (Gloucestershire FA)
Assistant Referee: James Hooper (Gloucestershire FA)