End to Villa's 25-year trophy drought in 50th anniversary year

Joseph Bulmer

Torbay side Brixham Town will be hoping to end the Torbay Clearance Service SDFL's county cup drought on Saturday by lifting the A&S Paving Devon Intermediate Cup at Coach Road.

The Division Three side take on Witheridge Reserves.

The Windmill FC wrapped up their first season in the South Devon Football League by lifting the Manor Building Company Premier Division Cup last Saturday evening, at Liverton United's Halford ground.

The self-styled 'pub team from Plymouth', who were topping the Premier Division when the league season was voided, took on a Watts Blake Bearne side looking for their first trophy since 2010.

They almost had the perfect start when the ball hit the back of the net after just six minutes, sparking wild celebrations, but the goal had been disallowed for offside.

WBB”s first real chance came on 13 minutes when Windmill's Joey Burton met a whipped in cross, diverting it just over his own bar.

Both sides competed well and were evenly matched although Windmill looked the most likely to open the scoring, a combination of wayward finishing and good goalkeeping denying the forward pair of skipper Sam Doyle and Tommy Phillips.

But Wattsies reminded everyone of their lethal front line when Billy Clinch stung the palms of Windmill goalkeeper Steven France with a fierce drive from the right in the 34th minute.

The breakthrough came on 53 minutes, the Windmill surging into the WBB box and Ash Walker taking his chance to place the ball past the goalkeeper.

Wattsies almost found an equaliser on the hour mark but Steven France, whose penalty save against Meadowbrook in the semi-final was crucial in getting his side to the final, produced a great save from a free-kick.

Cam Gill, whose superb strike saw WBB knock out East Allington in the semi-finals, tried to conjure up some magic again but the Plymouth side kept him under control, clearly aware of the danger he could pose.

But it was a lack of self-control from Brennan Moore that could have cost them as the Windmill man saw red with ten minutes left.

With about the same amount of injury time to be added on, Lee France's side faced a nervous climax to the game.

Despite the man disadvantage, the Windmill managed the closing stages of the game well.

With 97 minutes played, Clinch almost forged himself a last ditch shot at goal but Steven France narrowed the angle and denied Wattsies their final chance to force extra-time.

Earlier that afternoon, Halford had also played host to the Bettesworths Estate Agents Division Two cup between Babbacombe Corinthians and Ilsington Villa.

Both sides loaded the attack from the off and the tactic paid off after 17 minutes for Corries.

Villa failed to deal with an in-swinging free-kick from the right and Lee McArthur's bravery in the box created a chance for captain Sam Swann to fire home.

Corries clearly saw attack as their best line of defence as they piled bodies forward to get a second, kicking off some entertaining end-to-end football.

Ilsington's Dan Langford, who had already demonstrated his pace up front, showed off his finishing ability on 24 minutes with a great strike out of nowhere from the right.

All square at half-time, Villa got their noses in front in the 52nd minute.

Jack Langford was the quickest to react to a corner and finished superbly into the bottom right.

From then on, Ilsington took control of the game, Cameron Hunter doing well to deny Dan Langford his second by winning a one-on-one and George Harris wasting several good opportunities in the final third, his finishing not quite matching his creative abilities through the left channel.

Villa had one hand on the trophy on the hour mark when Dan Langford raced through and hit another fine shot into the bottom right.

Corries did have a chance to narrow the deficit two minutes later, Connor Gibson pulling off a reaction save as the ball flashed across his goal from the right but Tom Rush had the chance to seal the win from the penalty spot ten minutes later.

His penalty was hit straight at Hunter though, who stood firm to beat it away. Hunter also produced the save of the game, diving to the left to get a hand to Dan Langford's inch-perfect free-kick and deny the Villa man his hat-trick.

The whistle signalled the end of a 25-year trophy drought for Villa and a fitting end to their 50th anniversary.

Next up is the Francis Clark Division One Cup final between Ashburton and Galmpton United which will kick off at 7pm tomorrow (Friday) at Bovey Tracey FC.

The details for the Coast and Country Division Three Cup final between Brixham Town and Totnes and Dartington Reserves are yet to be finalised.