Not unlike one of Indiana Jones narrow escapes in 'The Temple of Doom' the U14 Premier lads had a very narrow escape themselves winning away to Temple Villa AFC in the 3rd Round of the U14 SFAI Sketchers Cup. While the seagull lads started lively the local lads were not interested in allowing us have the ball and after only four minutes we were down 1 nil after Michael Okpeaye set up this Villa team mate Dean O' Neill who finished brilliantly to the top corner giving Lee O'Sullivan no chance. Within five minutes of the first goal & to the absolute shock & horror of the Devon lads Temple Villa went two up with a screamer from Adam Keane from twenty-five yards. While most teams away from home would have thrown in the towel not these Devon lads. Driven on by their dynamo captain Daniel Hoare in the middle of the park, the Devon lads started to get their passing game going and were rewarded with several well-earned corners. One such corner resulted in hitting the woodwork while several corners ended up with some fine saves from the home keeper. The Devon lads still could not put the ball in the net and it was starting to look like one of those days. However, luck was to change and five minutes before half time Sean O'Connor delivered an in-swinging corner which was clinically flicked to the net by Piotrek Szymanski giving the keeper no chance. Now 2:1….game on.
Half time the Devon lads were fired up and came out the second half like lads possessed. Within two minutes the Devon lads had the score sheet all-level. Eric Diarra won a free kick in his own box, Sean O'Connor took a quick free kick giving the ball to Darren Darren who released a gem of ball to Piotrek Szymanski who cut into the box from the left deftly rounding the keeper and toe poked the ball neatly into the right corner for his second of the day. The tactical switches of bringing on Milo O'Malley on the left wing and Charlie Cox on the right started to give extra drive and width to the Devon play. Combined good passing and increased tempo put the home team under a lot of pressure and a number of frees were won by the clever Darren Darcy. Time was starting to run out and Devon threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Villa lads. Finally, on the 26 minute the winning goal was scored by no other than Piotrek Szymanski who bagged his hat trick of the day after another fine corner delivery from Sean O'Connor. Total joy for the Devon lads and despair to a home side who gave it their all.
All in all, a classic cup game but there could only be one winner. Other strong performers for the Devon on the day were Dylan Darcy Devine, Jamie Greaney, while all the back five put in some quality performances. Special thanks on the day to John O'Neill Manager of Temple Villa who spoke to our lads after the game and the local parents who provided such hospitality and refreshments to the Devon team & parents. Many thanks also to Tommy Kinnevey Bus hire who drove us to and from the match.
Next up for these Seagull lads is a fourth-round home draw to Westport Utd.
P.S. Big shout out to Caden Grant who unfortunately could not make the game as he got injured during the week…. get well soon Caden from all your teammates!