Report by Mr Lawrence
Every schoolboys dream is to play in a Final. Not many get to live that dream, and even for the lucky souls that do, few get to taste victory. However, a team of schoolboys from Mounts Bay have done exactly that after a pulsating victory over Saltash Community School in the U15 Cornwall Schools FA County Final on Wednesday 30th April 2014 at Newquay FC.
These group of players in Year 10 have been on an unprecedented run this year in in this competition that attracts entries from all Secondary Schools in the County. Even to reach this stage it has taken Mounts Bay to overcome the likes Falmouth School, Truro School, Helston and Hayle. But their biggest challenge waited them in the final, against a Saltash side who won this competition last season.
The match started brightly with Saltash starting the game sharper than Mounts Bay and indeed, Saltash seeing more of the ball in the early spells of the game. Saltash continued to apply pressure but could not break down the Mounts Bay resilient defence that consisted of Ben Oakes, Isaac Blackbourne, Dom Willcox and Jed Jones. In particular Eddy Hall in goal for Mounts Bay, made numerous clearances and saves to keep the score at 0 – 0 after a positive spell of pressure from the Saltash players.
The longer the first half continued, the Mounts Bay midfield began to assert themselves on the game, Kieran Bowden began to become very influential in Midfield setting up waves of Mounts Bay attacks, in particular looking dangerous on the counter attack with the pace of Max Caddy, Morgan Holman and Cameron Ridge.
The best chance of the half fell to Dom Willcox, a training move corner kick taken by Ben Oakes found Willcox leaping in the air from 6 yards to only see his bullet header just raise slightly over the bar.
Half Time: 0 – 0
The second half started and Mounts Bay’s progressing confidence throughout the match started to tell, Mounts Bay were starting to make the oppositions goal keeper work a lot more, Francis Pengelley, Max Caddy, Cameron Thomas and Kieran Bowden all going close to open the Finals goal scoring account.
But it was mere respite, as Saltash looked very dangerous from any free kick or corner and went very close mid way through the second half, the ball fell to a Saltash player in a goal mouth scramble who hit a shot that looked a certain goal. However, Hall in goal was proving to be unbeatable yet again and pulled off a double reaction save to keep the score still 0 – 0.
And perhaps that miss was a sign that it was meant to be Mounts Bay’s day because on 72 minutes with only 3 minutes to play and the final looking certain of extra time, the boys from West Cornwall took the lead. The Saltash keeper made a clearance and the ball landed to Ben Oakes some 40 yards away from goal, and Oakes has set the shot up with a superb first touch to then fire a rocket of a shot over the stranded goal keeper’s head who was scrambling back to the goal line only to see the ball bounce into the top corner of the net. It was a strike worthy of any final, at any level, and sparked wild celebrations from the Mounts Bay squad.
The goal settled Mounts Bay, Saltash searched desperately for an equaliser but in truth didn’t seriously test Eddy Hall in goal thereafter, with Dom Willcox and Issac Blackbourne in particular outstanding at the back. And with the agonising minutes of stoppage time ticking away, the final whistle saw jubilant and emotional scenes from the players, staff and parents together on the pitch. And the youngsters deserved every accolade, achieving perhaps the greatest ever feat of any Cornish school boy dream, County Champions, the best in the County. Not many can say that.
Squad: Eddy Hall, Ben Oakes, Jake Bull, Isaac Blackbourne, Dom Willcox, Jed Jone, Kieran Bowden, Francis Pengelley, Cameron Ridge, Cameron Thomas, Max Caddy, Morgan Holman, Stephan Leonard, Marcus OConnor, Tyler Tonkin, Joel Bick.
Manager: Mr Lawrence
Goalscorer: Ben Oakes (73mins)
Man of the Match: Every player was outstanding, however, Kieran Bowden awarded Man of the Match.
Special Thanks: Thanks to Mr Strong, Mr Harvey and Mr Hall for their support at the final, also to Mr Veal and Mr Strong for yet again giving up their time to drive the boys in the Mini Bus through out the cup journey!