Gloucestershire 5 - 3 Cornwall AET (3-3 After Normal Time)
FA County Youth Cup 3rd Round
Played at Gloucestershire FA on Saturday 9th December 2017
On a cold afternoon in Gloucestershire last years finalists bowed out of this years FA County Youth Cup following Extra Time. Gloucestershire dominated the first half and were perhaps a little unlucky to only go in 2-1 ahead, and after increasing that lead to 3-1 early in the 2nd half they looked set for a comfortable afternoon. However it is credit to the Cornwall players attitude and spirit that they got the score back to 3-3 in a pulsating 2nd half. Both team had chances to win it, but ultimately Gloucestershire got that bit of luck in extra time to go 4-3 up and then scored a 5th as Cornwall pushed for a leveler.
Gloucestershire were on the front foot from the start and only some good goalkeeping by Gwillam and solid defending by Cornwall really kept the scores level early on. Gwillam especially alert to make two good reaction saves from point blank range. Cornwall tried to get into the game and Soares on the left was causing problems, but the final ball was lacking, the only real chance created was from a Max Gilbert free kick, the ball broke to Will Trew but he could only scoop his effort from a tight angle over the bar.
Gloucestershire continued to do most of the pressing but Cornwall looked comfortable enough. It was then slightly against the run of play that Cornwall took the lead, the ball breaking for Jack Webber 20 yards out, he turned his man and let fly with his left foot and the ball found the bottom corner. The lead was to be short lived though as Gloucestershire hit straight back, the goal itself was a little fortuitous as a through ball ricocheted into the path of the striker, but his finish was a calm and composed one into the bottom corner when one on one.
Cornwall then enjoyed their best spell of the half but just before half time found themselves 2-1 down, a cracking free kick from the right hand side was whipped in at the Gloucestershire player got free in the area and planted a powerful header past Gwillam. Cornwall reacted well though and almost leveled on the stroke of half time, a whipped in Soares corner was met by Hamshaw whose header was cleared off the line by the back peddling defender. That was the last action of the half as Cornwall went in 2-1 down.
Cornwall started the 2nd half brightly and looked determined to find a way back into the game but after 50 minutes found themselves 3-1 down. It was a fantastic break for Gloucestershire from a Cornwall corner which resulted in a bursting run from the Gloucestershire midfielder who calmly rounded Gwillam and slotted the ball home. It was now a real test of character for Cornwall.
Almost immediately it was 3-2, Webber won the ball in midfield and found Gilbert, he delivered the ball to Soares on the left wing, some lovely skill saw him skin his man and deliver a peach of a cross for Oli Walker who acrobatically volleyed the ball home. In the blink of an eye it was 3-3, a long Hamshaw ball from the back reached Soares, he took the ball into the corner and using his quick feet and trickery somehow beat two men before cutting into the box and firing home, a great solo goal, all square a game on.
The game now really opened up and Gloucestershire were unlucky not to re-take the lead when the lively right winger fired a shot from 15 yards against the post. It was then Cornwall's turn to hot the woodwork when an Alfir Flack free kick was headed onto the bar by a Gloucestershire defender. Gwillam then made a fantastic saved from a free kick and Hamshaw somehow scrambled the ball off the line from the rebound, and before time was out Gloucestershire rattled the bar again. It had beena great 2nd half but with no further goals we were headed to Extra Time.
An early goal put Gloucestershire 4-3 up and then in the 2nd half of extra time in final stages as Cornwall pressed for a leveler Gloucestershire made it 5-3 on the break and with that the referee blew his whistle.
On the balance of play Gloucestershire probably deserved to go through but Cornwall can be proud of the effort and passion they showed to get back into the game and on another day with a couple of breaks could have snuck through. So the journey ends this year but with two competitions left there is still plenty to play for this season.
Cornwall Team - 1. Luke Gwillam, 2. Josh Otto, 3. Alfie Flack, 4. Max Gilbert, 5. Archie Friar, 6. Gabe Hamshaw, 7. Will Trew, 8. Jack Webber, 9. Oli Walker, 10. George Tucker, 11. Tiago Soares
Subs - Ben O'Connor, Adam Dower, Max Armstrong, Georg Harvey, Max Everard
Highlights of the game courtesy of Piran Films https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIQ6hsrByF4