Thrilling fight backs in cup tournaments
- Credit: AL MACPHEE
There was plenty of drama in the semi-finals of the Torbay Clearance Services SDFL divisional cup tournaments last Saturday with late winners, penalty saves and thrilling fight backs taking place across South Devon.
There was no better example than at Abbrook Park where Watts Blake Bearne were looking to secure their first SDFL cup final appearance since 2010.
They were looking dangerous from the off with East Allington United, Herald Cup winners in 2017 and 2018, forced into some last ditch defending and Richard Teague pulling off some incredible early saves.
But after weathering the early storm, it was the Pirates who took the lead, retained firefighter Matt Bodman heading home from a corner after 20 minutes. When George Banfield finished off Luke Forward's cross for East Allington's second, early in the second half, it looked as if WBB might rue those early missed chances.
But the Claymen are made of sterner stuff and the fightback began in earnest, Matt Elmore and Jakeb Heywood-Cann both scoring to level the game with 15 minutes remaining.
Five minutes from time, Cam Gill completed the turnaround, cutting in from the right before unleashing a blistering shot into the top corner.
WBB's Manor Building Company Premier Division Cup final opponents will be competing for their first SDFL honour after only joining the league last summer.
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The Windmill FC left it late against Meadowbrook Athletic to book their place, Conor Godfrey with the only goal of the game. The Plymouth side were also indebted to their goalkeeper Steve France who pulled off a penalty save.
The final will take place at Liverton United's Halford this Saturday with a 6pm kick-off.
Ashburton seemed to have things firmly under control after an hour at Chuley Road with a goal scored in either half of their Francis Clark Division One Cup semi-final.
That was until Kelsey Leech headed home a corner for Kingsteignton Athletic Reserves with 12 minutes remaining, setting up a thrilling final ten minutes.
Ashes extended their lead in the 84th minute but four minutes later, their defence switched off allowing the Rams to force home a second, Thomas Reeves smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
Even the awarding of a last minute penalty for the hosts wasn't enough to put the game to bed as the visiting goalkeeper beat away the spot kick. But it was a case of too little, too late for Kingsteignton with Ashburton just about making it over the line.
There was also plenty of action at Galmpton War Memorial Ground where the Greens found themselves down to ten men within the first five minutes, Joe Morey seeing red. Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Greens scored twice to give themselves a healthy cushion at the break.
Louis Brace got Beesands Rovers back in the game, firing home Joe Craig's cross early in the second half, but Galmpton capitalised on some hesitancy at the back to go 3-1 up shortly afterwards. Next, Jack Eades and Adam Winkworth combined well with the latter's cross acrobatically headed home by Craig to narrow the deficit once more.
But it was not to be for the South Hams side, Galmpton scoring an excellent fourth to secure their final spot. Callum Nightingale was a hat-trick hero for the Greens with Sam Massey their other goalscorer.
Dittisham United were all set to claim their spot in the semi-finals of the Bettesworths Division Two Cup after they took the lead away at Ipplepen Athletic Reserves on the Thursday night.
But despite only having nine on the pitch, due to injuries, and being forced to play goalkeeper Harry Dumas up front, Ipplepen salvaged a point with a late penalty kick, Dumas the scorer. That goal saw Newton Rovers clinch the group runners-up spot.
Rovers took the lead at Ilsington Villa on Saturday but the home side scored four times in the second half to win 5-2, Dan Langford with a brace and Jack Langford, Thomas Rush and Matthew Warman also on target; Curtis Bond and Matt McDonough found the net for Rovers.
Ipplepen's cup final hopes were dashed early on in the other semi-final as Babbacombe Corinthians marched into an early two goal lead at Moor Road, Jordan Bradshaw with both goals. When Lee McArthur put away a penalty shortly afterwards, Corries had one foot in the final before ten minutes had been played.
Ipplepen did pull a goal back before the break but the Torquay side held firm in the second half to run out 3-1 winners.
Ilsington and Babbacombe will lock horns on Saturday at Halford in a 2pm kick-off.
Only one of Saturday's eight ties went to extra time, the Coast and Country Division Three Cup semi-final between Totnes and Dartington Reserves and Watts Blake Bearne Reserves. Goals from Daniel Scott and Danny Harry saw the game finish one apiece after 90 minutes, Billy Bartlett seeing Tots through with a goal six minutes into extra-time.
They will play Brixham Town who enjoyed a more comfortable win over Liverton United Reserves, Brendan Boddy with a brace and Daniel Tucker also on the score sheet in a 3-0 victory.
The details for the Division One and Division Three finals are still to be confirmed.