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BRNC steal victory in football cup final

4 April 2017
A winning-goal in extra time saw Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Football Club steal a victory in the Thomas Westcott Devon FA Midweek Cup Final against the University of Plymouth (UP).

Three goals in the last 15 minutes saw BRNC achieve a significant come-back after being two goals down for most of the game.

It was a slow start for the Navy men, who struggled to retain possession and play their fast flowing football on what was a slow surface. The deadlock was broken after half an hour when the University team gained a free kick on the edge of the box.

The UP captain curled the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to give UP a 1 – 0 lead.  UP continued to apply pressure, but both teams failed to take their chances and by the end of the first half the UP team were still in the lead.

BRNC came out in the second half trying to make amends for the below par performance, but after a better start things quickly went from bad to worse.  The UP striker was played in behind, latching onto the through ball and tucking it past Petty Officer Al Pipe to double UP’s lead.

I would like to thank the 30-40 players that have represented BRNC FC this season. It has required commitment from each and every one of them to ensure we can play competitive football in parallel with an intense initial naval training programme.

Lt Clark

BRNC started to work their way back into the game and with 75 minutes gone, the superior fitness of Dartmouth meant they started to dictate play and control the game.

Leading Physical Trainer (LPT) Jamie Le Page tested the keeper from a free kick which the UP keeper did well to tip over the bar. The resulting corner produced another chance for Lieutenant (Lt) David Clark who couldn’t quite direct his header towards goal, but there were signs of a swing in momentum.

On 76 minutes, BRNC’s and Lt Clark’s efforts paid off.  A corner was cleared by UP but Officer Cadet (OC) Aaron Deakin was able to get to ball back to OC Just on the edge of the area and the captain passed the ball out wide to LPT Le Page and his brilliant in-swinging cross into the area was headed in by Lt Clark. Dartmouth had a lifeline, and with UP starting to tire BRNC knew that the game was far from over.

BRNC continued to control the game and put pressure on UP, more chances came but Dartmouth just couldn’t convert them. The BRNC crowd, that travelled in numbers started to really get behind the team, which spurred BRNC on.

With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, BRNC levelled the scores giving the fans something to really cheer about. LPT Le Page headed the ball into the middle of the park for OC Al Duhani to latch onto, he expertly guided the ball over the top of the UP defence and OC Elliot Gorst finished with a half volley past the keeper; a brilliant goal.

While BRNC had the momentum, they were reminded that the threat from UP was still there. A UP corner found its way to an unmarked man in the middle, who guided his header over; a let off for BRNC. The BRNC defence dealt well with everything thrown at them, even after some fresh legs came on for UP upfront.

With the scores tied after 90 minutes, it looked like the game may go into extra time, but BRNC did not let up. After 91 minutes BRNC finally took the lead. A slick one two between OC Gorst and OC Andrew Goudie in the middle sent OC Gorst away and he finished with confidence into the bottom left corner to complete the BRNC comeback.

Player manager Lt Clark said:  “I am delighted with the result.  To come back from 2-0 down, every player displayed grit, determination and the strength of character to never give-up.

"The second half performance epitomised the fighting spirit we instil in every Officer Cadet that we train at BRNC.  This proves that if you work together as a team you can achieve success.”

Lt Clark also paid tribute to his squad and particularly Lt Darren Roach who was playing his final match for BRNC. 

Lt Clark said: “ I would like to thank the 30-40 players that have represented BRNC FC this season. It has required commitment from each and every one of them to ensure we can play competitive football in parallel with an intense initial naval training programme.

"A special mention must go to Lt Roach, who has been our manager over the last two seasons and who re-established the club in 2015.  His hard work and commitment has paid off and it is a fitting way for him to finish his career in the Royal Navy.”

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