Norfolk U18's Leave it late in Cornwall
EXTRA TIME SPECIAL FROM NORFOLK
Norfolk won their first game of the season in the second round of The FA County Youth Cup on Saturday, beating Cornwall in extra time by four goals to three.
Norfolk started the game with desire to play well, outplaying their Cornish counterparts in the first few passages of play. Over the opening five minutes Norfolk moved the ball well, capitalising on space in wide areas to deliver crosses into the box however were unable to convert.
On the ten-minute mark Norfolk moved the ball out left for Max Lane, who attacked the wing before whipping a teasing ball in which was to be met by the head of James Bemrose who rose at the back post and guided the ball past the Cornwall goalkeeper with the deftest of touches.
Utilising the momentum from the opener, Norfolk were able to double their lead two minutes later when a Jordan Forbes corner was again headed home, this time by Captain Lewis Johnson. With goalkeeper Connor Milligan having very little to do, Norfolk were in control of the game and continued to play in a positive manner, pushing forward and creating chances.
The visitors could have arguably sealed the tie later in the half when Bemrose was put through on goal and brought down in the box with the Cornwall player receiving a yellow card. Bemrose stepped up to add to his tally but dragged his penalty to the left. Cornwall threatened in towards the end of the half, but Norfolk were able to go in at the break with their 2 goal cushion intact.
Half Time – Cornwall 0-2 Norfolk
From the restart, Norfolk had a strong headwind to contend with as well as a rejuvenated opposition. Cornwall capitalised on the conditions and their downhill advantage, scoring two goals in the first four minutes after the break, putting the game back on equal terms.
Shell-shocked, the visitors could only attempt to contain Cornwall who were showing renewed confidence after their goals. The hosts regularly hit their wide men who put plenty of testing balls in for the Milligan to deal with, whereas Norfolk were struggling to leave their own half.
At the midway point of the second period things went from bad to worse when a cross hit the arm of Norfolk right back Scott Howard. Cornwall scored the resulting penalty, taking the lead for the first time and turning the tie on its head.
Norfolk upped the tempo, now chasing the game, and Harrison Gilding-Hewitt came close to finding the back of the net in the last ten minutes, however the Cornwall Goalkeeper made a great save to his left, tipping it round the post.
Using the long throw of Josh ford to get the ball into the opposition half, Norfolk continued to keep the pressure on, with Cornwall only able to clear their lines rather than create anything in response. With the tie in stoppage time, Jordan Forbes received the ball out wide and took on the Cornish full back, with the centre back coming across to cover Forbes was tripped, earning Norfolk a chance to save the game in the 93rd minute. Owen Murphy stepped up to take the spot kick and smashed it down the middle as the keeper dove to his right.
Full time – Cornwall 3-3 Norfolk
After a short rest and some inspiring words from manager Gavin Lemon, the players headed back out onto the turf in search of a match winner.
Norfolk edged the first half of extra time through chances created however both teams cancelled each other out, and both sets of players began to struggle with fatigue and cramp. Jack Cottingham and Emre Watson worked extremely hard to win every ball in the middle of the pitch, and the Norfolk defence looked solid whenever tested.
With just five minutes separating the teams from penalties, Norfolk won a free kick on the edge of the Cornwall box. Ford took the free kick, which deflected off the wall and into a mix of players, resulting in a goalmouth scramble. Within the melee, the ball fell to Cottingham who managed to get it out of his feet quickly and connect well, striking a thunderous shot into the bottom corner of the goal, with everybody else, including the host keeper, only able to spectate.
Buoyed by the turn around, Norfolk pushed through substantial injury time to see out the remainder of the tie and book their place in the next round of competition, where they will play Isle of Man at home.
Full Time – Cornwall 3-4 Norfolk (AET)
Norfolk: Connor Milligan, Reece Crowe, Brady Philpott, Jack Cottingham, Josh Ford, Lewis Johnson ©, Jordan Forbes, Owen Murphy, James Bemrose, Emre Upston & Max Lane.
Gilding-Hewitt, Scott Howard.
Report written by Ben Woodruff