On a wet night on the neutral ground of Newton Abbot Spurs, Axminster and Okehampton fought out a marathon cup semi-final.  Okehampton had to rearrange their formation as influential midfielder Luke Reynolds has a ligament injury which will keep him out for the rest of the season and centre-half Myles James is cup-tied.  In came Luke’s twin brother Morgan, normally a striker, to play in midfield and centre-half Harvey Newman who is only available for cup games.

Axminster were the better team in the first half and Argyle made the mistake of resorting to a long-ball game which they do not play well.  Both defences were on top and there were few chances at either end although Axminster looked the more likely to score.

The second half saw the pattern continue and seven minutes after the interval, Axminster took the lead when Richard Hebditch headed home a long cross from the left.  This seemed to wake Okehampton up and they then played 35 minutes of their best football, playing the ball through midfield to the forwards in excellent short passing movements and keeping the ball on the ground.  Despite going close on several occasions and some mazy runs from Luke Alden, it looked as if the equaliser would elude them.  But with only 4 minutes remaining, a great move ended with Luke Mortimore surging forward and cutting into the box from the right to unleash a fierce shot which went into the net off an Axminster defender.

Extra Time was a grinding test of fitness for both sides and Argyle were glad to have the fresh legs of Ollie Snow and Mitch Cisneros to call on with both slotting in well.  There was no further scoring so the match moved into a penalty shoot-out. Okehampton took 4 perfect penalties with Luke Alden, Ollie Snow, Morgan Reynolds and Luke Mortimore giving the keeper no chance.  Axminster however came up against Okey keeper Aaron Dearing in tremendous form producing a brilliant save from their first effort, saving the second effort but frustratingly seeing the ball slip from his hands and over the line, and then making another brilliant save from their third effort, which meant once the Okes had scored their fourth penalty, there was no way back for Axminster.

Man of the match for Okehampton was quite naturally awarded to Dearing, but also deserving a mention was young right back Sami Gillett who hardly put a foot wrong all night.

The final will be against the winners of the other semi-final between Newton Abbot Spurs and Liskeard Athletic and will be played on Saturday 13th May at Launceston FC’s ground with a 2pm kick-off.