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Even though rushing to our seats just below the filming gantry, I had time to ask Physio Toby Wellington on whether or not left-back James Haywood had been declared fit?


One of the six Camelford players in the squad, James had been troubled with an injury coming into the weekend and unfortunately for him, the late fitness test half an hour or so ago had finally confirmed what I think we all thought might be the case – no final for James!


Confirmation that no matter all the good times experienced such as today, our game of football that we love so much, can also be so brutal. James had started every game this season, but today regrettably, it was not to be for him!


With the lad not wearing the number 3 shirt, who would replace him? In previous games young Archie Flack (only 16) had swapped with James as a substitute on a couple occasions. Then of course there's always Max Roberts, a defender, who looks capable of playing anywhere across the back.


The decision went with the latter option and as expected was the only change from the team that began the semi-final against Durham.


This also meant four players were starting today who had began all our previous seven competitive games – goalkeeper Luke Gwillam, skipper Charlie Hambly, the versatile Ed Harrison and forward Olly Walker.


The management had done their homework, supplied with information from our very own Piran Films summariser Steve Massey.


Mass had watched the opposition in their semi-final with Oxfordshire and as he had with previous opponents, produced a concise dossier of Middlesex.


We were about to find out whether some of his final comments, remember it was a convincing 7-2 score line over Oxfordshire, could be influential to any game plan:-


The initial reminder and perhaps worthy of stating to allay any fear of that 5 goal margin win becoming a “Sword of Damocles”: “…. the score line flattered Middlesex a little. Oxford, I learnt, had 4 players out (inc keeper) who would have started, and improved their side.”


“They also gave Middlesex SO MUCH room in the middle of the park, they hardly, if ever won a tackle.”

 

“Middlesex have a defensive weakness down their right, and both CH's leave huge gaps between themselves. “


“We will certainly not give Middlesex the room Oxford gave them.”


“They like to play football”


“They are good side ONLY in possession, they have many weaknesses that we can AND will exploit.”


I'll leave you to think about those comments by suggesting you watch the match action showing in the two Piran Film productions by Mark Huckle. They’re both available online and either search for “Mark Huckle” or go to YouTube and then “Mark Huckle”.


The Cornwall FA’s Richard Pallot perhaps sums the match up in the very first paragraph of his detailed report: “In a very even game between two well matched sides it was Middlesex who won The FA County Youth Cup, defeating Cornwall 2-1. The Cornish lads displayed all the attributes that got them to the final, spirit, determination and skill but ultimately on this occasion we didn't quite get the run of the ball and a clinical Middlesex edged it.”


I think it fair to say Middlesex were the best side we played all season. I also think it fair to say that in any match, you need that little bit of luck and as you'll see in some of the action, the ball didn't quite run for us on this occasion.

Cornwall’s striker Mattie Buchan, with 8 goals already coming into this final, today saw the ball bounce off a defender and run behind him! Josh Penrose who had quickly got Cornwall back level a minute after Middlesex took the early lead, brought a brilliant save late-on out of their ‘keeper!


In the first half, there was an earlier save from a Joe Adkins shot from the edge of the penalty area! The action is there to be seen and considered yourself.


In the end it came down to the only difference being the way they whipped in their free-kicks and corners. Especially the latter when painfully reminded that they scored from one, and Josh Otto ended up clearing two others off the goal line! Was the one just before the half-time whistle actually over the line? Not the best angle for us in the stand - it’s in the Piran Film action.


We looked more comfortable with those dead ball situations in the second half, but by then the damage had been done. As Hoops mentions in his post-match interview, we were undone by two set pieces!


It's never easy to interview anyone for the camera after a defeat and so thanks also go to Charlie Hambly who joined me as well for a quick post-match reaction.


Charlie deserves a special word as he's played in three seasons of County Youth sides and what a way to go out! Being captain of the very first Cornwall Under-18 squad to reach a national final will be forever a special moment in his footballing life. I know his parents were so proud and I can't blame his mum for having a few tears in her eyes when embracing him straight after the match.


This was his 21st appearance in the County colours. Surely a record at this level? He always looks so comfortable on the ball and in fact I thought likewise at the end of a microphone. I'm glad in the interview he encouraged players to come forward and want to play for the county. There might be a couple who regret their early season decision, but I appreciate the clubs also have to buy into the concept.


My man of the match? I actually went for Josh Otto on the basis that he raised his game when it was most required. His tackling was crisp and timely, his positioning faultless as confirmed by the goal line clearances.


However, you know what? There were actually 18 stars this afternoon. Stand up, take a bow, and move forward with your football “careers”. You did the County proud, not just today, but all season.


Now onto the post-match …. (but, not before you take a look at the Mark Huckle video footage and a few more photos below)






So proud to be a part of this team …(Part 4)

The Match! ….

Next ……………..Next ……………..

A nice touch to remember this season of seasons by!

Match action from all angles!