Devon and Exeter League: Wellington Reserves 3, Kentisbeare 2
On a beautiful spring afternoon, Wellington’s young guns produced arguably their best performance of the season to beat title-chasing Kentisbeare.
In a game full of endeavour and commitment, both sides produced an enthralling five-goal encounter. Wellington started the brighter, getting particular success down the right flank. Jordon Mace, Josh Baker and Oli Nott worked some neat one-touch football and often caused danger, winning numerous corners and forcing the keeper into action on many occasions.
Kentisbeare defended well and relied on counter attacks during the opening 20 minutes of the game but Wellington too defended well. The back three of skipper Mark Owen, Josh Pearson and young Josh Hawkings were outstanding throughout., in particular Hawkings who, after a nervous start, grew brilliantly into this unaccustomed role. Wellington’s keeper, the returning Sam Carreau, was rarely stretched throughout most of the first half and in fact the whole game. His presence and experience was great boost the young side.
Kentisbeare came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 37th minute. A low cross from the left was put on to the post, rebounding to safety and the first half finished 0-0.
Kentisbeare started the second half swiftly, but again Wellington withstood the early pressure and were back toe to toe. Tennessee Harlow replaced the injured Mace on 58 minutes. The home team were playing well but, on 61 minutes Kentisbeare, were awarded a penalty. A corner was partially cleared and in the scramble the referee gave a foul as the ball was cleared – Wellington’s appeals were to no avail and Carreau was sent the wrong way as the visitors took the lead.
But this young side have shown great resolve and belief in recent weeks and it was to be shown again, only this time with deserved reward. Wellington got straight back on the front foot and were rewarded in the 67th minute. Robbie Broomhead showed why he’s so highly regarded when he drove a superb low right sided cross. The onrushing Josh Baker, forced his shot through the keeper from seven yards out for a deserved equaliser.
Striker Ash Saunders replaced Broomhead on 72 minutes as management team Pocock and Buttle looked to push for the win. Saunders made an immediate impact. A long clearance from the opposition keeper was met and headed back powerfully by Josh Hawkings. It landed deep in behind enemy lines causing panic and a mishit back pass prevailed. Saunders reacted sharply. He latched on to the ball and despatched an assured finish past the keeper for 2-1.
Six minutes later, it was 3-1. This time Saunders turned provider. A swift and slick passing phase saw Saunders release Nott, the run and pass perfectly timed to beat the offside trap. Nott took a couple of touches before unleashing a powerful rising near post shot which flew past the helpless keeper and into the top corner.
Kentisbeare tried to rally and were given a lifeline on 83 minutes. A corner caused a goalmouth scramble. A disputed goal was given by the ref from his position outside the penalty box as the away team claimed the ball had crossed the line.
Wellington were never really challenged again after this and eventually ran out deserved winners. All the players involved gave their all and were a credit to themselves. Clay Westcott, Aaron Hawkings and Connor Pengelly were also massive contributors in a fine team performance.