Following an unprecedented season, with the Covid-19 Pandemic interrupting football across the country, Cornwall FA were delighted to attend the 2021 Callywith Flexi-League Final on the 8th June 2021.
With the sun setting behind the 3G pitch providing a brilliant backdrop, Polzeath Monday took on St Breward Flexi in what turned out to be a thrilling final. With both teams looking forward to the fixture, energy levels were high from the start with Polzeath starting brightly with some slick combination play and free-flowing attacking football. St Breward defended well but Polzeath continued to apply the pressure with an audacious volley (from Polzeath’s lively attacking midfielder) dipping from outside the box only to rebound off the post.
Further attacking play saw St Breward’s keeper make some testing saves before Polzeath eventually broke the deadlock, going 1-0 up after a driven cross tapped home by the Polzeath striker.
Following the opening goal, St Breward grew into the game retaining possession more effectively and looking to use their pacey wingers to create problems within the Polzeath defensive unit. This continued, with the St Breward midfielder finding their left winger with a long diagonal pass. The winger then proceeded to perform a Grealish inspired step over before crossing the ball deep towards the back post where the St Breward striker made no mistake at volleying the ball through the legs of the out-stretched Polzeath goalkeeper.
With the score level, the half-time whistle was blown, and team talks were underway.
The second half continued in the same light, with both teams matching one another and attempting to stop any forward play from their opponents. Polzeath saw a freekick edge past the post and were denied a second goal after the St Breward keeper palmed away a curling shot from the Polzeath midfield.
With the sun slowing setting, the referee’s full-time whistle was blown with both teams now facing extra time and potentially penalties.
Both teams went into extra time with sustained energy and continued to match each other in the first half. It seemed both teams were determined to stop their opponents clinching the victory however, after a Polzeath midfielder was brought down after a brilliant 3rd man run, a penalty was awarded with just over 5 minutes of extra time remaining.
As the Polzeath striker placed the ball on the penalty spot, tension rose, and the St Breward players looked to their goalkeeper to save the day. The referee blew his whistle and the St Breward keeper stood his ground and saved the penalty before setting up a counter attack. However, the linesman had spotted an error, raising his flag which resulted in the St Breward counter attack being left at a stand-still. The referee ran over to the linesman and after a quick discussion, it was identified that the goalkeeper stepped forward off his line before saving the initial penalty resulting in play being brought back to retake the penalty.
A new Polzeath penalty taker stepped up to have another chance to put their team ahead with minutes to spare. Remarkably the St Breward keeper made another penalty save! Scores remained level and St Breward players were ecstatic following the second save.
Following these dramatic scenes, it almost seemed destined to need penalties to decide the winners of the fixture. Nevertheless, with a few minutes remaining, Polzeath gained a free kick just outside of the St Breward penalty area. Polzeath’s striker, who missed the first penalty attempt, took charge and placed the ball down with a shot on goal looking the likely option. The striker proceeded to curl the ball over the St Breward wall and find the back of the net! Polzeath players and coaches erupted with joy after going 2-1 up with only minutes to go.
A victory for Polzeath seemed inevitable but they still had a couple of minutes to play and as expected, St Breward tried to make one final push to level the scores. After some resilient defending from Polzeath, the referee blew the final whistle meaning Polzeath were of the winners of the 2021 Callywith Flexi-League Final.
Cornwall FA’s Joshua Stockdale, who has supported the growth of the Callywith Flexi-League in recent years, attended the final and added, “It was great to see the Callywith Flexi-League final taking place after a challenging season of lockdowns and stoppages. The game itself was a joy to watch and highlighted just how fun and competitive the league has become over recent seasons.
Flexi-League football continues to provide quality midweek opportunities to hundreds of players across the county which supports the youth-adult transition, club pathways and helps attract new players to the game, all of which continues to support our clubs and adds to the Cornish football pathway. A huge thank you to all of the teams that have taken part in the both the Cornwall FA (Callywith) and Dropship (West Cornwall) Flexi-Leagues this season and we can’t wait to share our exciting plans for the provision across the County for the 21/22 season”.
Some highlights of the eventful evening have also been captured, please click here to view the match highlights.
If you are interested in the opportunities Flexi-League Football can provide, please click here and for further information please contact Joshua.email@example.com