Tavistick beaten on penalties in Devon Bowl semi-final Lambs crash out against Tiverton Town

TAVISTOCK’S hopes of reaching the Devon St Luke’s Challenge Cup final were ended in the cruellest of fashions as they were beaten on penalty kicks by Tiverton Town.

After a goalless draw at Ladysmead, in which defences were on top, the Lambs were denied by the heroics of Tiverton goalkeeper Ollie Saunders, who saved from Tavi’s Josh Grant, Ed Harrison and Tallan Burns as the Yellows won 3-2.

Tavistock goalkeeper Josh Oak saved two penalties himself as both goalkeepers excelled in the shoot-out, but the defeat was harsh on a weakened Tavi, who had created the better chances over the course of 90 minutes, even if the home side dominated possession.

“Tiverton were at full-strength and we were missing four players, so we rotated the squad and used a few of the development boys,” Henderson said. “Sam Rutter was outstanding on the night along with a number of other players like Sean Thomson and Oscar Massey, who played 90 minutes and showed up well.

“It shows we have a bit of depth to our squad. Territorally, I thought they had the better of the first half but, second half, they didn’t really cause us too many problems and we had the better chances.

“There were a lot of pleasing and complimentary comments from supporters and the officials also applauded us for the style of football that we try to play, on what was a difficult pitch, which was pleasing. Obviously it would have been nice to have gone through, but their goalkeeper saved three penalties, our goalkeeper saved two and you know what it’s like, penalties are a lottery.”

Henderson can take great heart from his side’s performance, though, against a team that is mid-table in the league above his Lambs.  This was a full-strength Tiverton side as well, so served as a good benchmark as to how Tavistock are progressing.

“They play in the league above us and you can notice the physicality of their players, but I thought we got the ball down and had some good phases of play,” Henderson added. “Don’t get me wrong, they were quite dominant in the first half with the ball, but they didn’t create too much.

“It’s pleasing because they are obviously a really good outfit in the league above and we competed with them with four or five key players missing. It bodes well for the club and shows that the players we are bringing through are of the right calibre.”