The Year 10 boys’ football wrote another chapter in their national cup journey in blustery conditions on the other side of the Tamar Bridge away to Looe Community Academy. With detailed preparation complete, the boys embarked on their last 16 voyage to Cornwall in a up-beat mood, whilst taking nothing for granted. Following the two hour drive, the boys arrived in a mature and professional manor, of which was duly complimented on by our accommodating staff in Looe.
After the pleasantries were exchanged, captain Ryan took the initiative to switch ends before kick off to ensure we played with the wind behind us in the first half. After a Taunton Academy dominated opening five minutes it was that man himself, captain fantastic, who rifled in the goal of the day from fully twenty-five yards into top left corner. Goalkeeper left rooted to the spot.
TTA smothered Looe for the following fifteen minutes, not allowing the home side out of their half. Frustration began to build as despite the strong display, the margin of difference was still just the one. Defending from the front, strikers Jesus, Liam and Theo hounded the back four tirelessly and Theo’s efforts were rewarded when he broke away and latched onto a lofted through ball before hammering home past the stranded goalkeeper. 2-0 TTA.
The last ten minutes of the first half saw a relaxed attitude slip into TTA’s performance which was detrimental as Looe had a succession of chances where they hit the woodwork, had the ball scrambled off the line and finally poked the ball past Bradley, who felt as though he had been fouled in the process.
Wake up call provided. Half time: Looe 1 – 2 The Taunton Academy. Despite the ten minute lapse at the end of the half, The Taunton Academy were left licking their wounds as the score-line didn’t reflect the performance. Looe were still in the game and they knew it. The next goal was huge.

We began the second half flanked by the Fords, Keanan and Lochlan with the former replacing Cory. Within minutes of coming on, Keanan was immediately impactful, taking on his opponent and passing him by with ease. Following some intricate play my our midfield three of Phil, Ryan and Tyler, the ball was played into the danger zone of Looe’s penalty area. In an attempt to bring the ball down on his chest, Keanan was shoved over with the defender clattering into the back of him. Penalty TTA. Up stepped Kye, calm as ever, to dispatch the ball into the bottom right of the goal. 3-1 TTA.

With breathing space intact, TTA didn’t rest on their laurels and immediately took the sword to Looe. With Ed brought into the fray up front, the ball found its way to the trickery of Phil who worked his way out of an almost impossible situation, much to the appreciation of the late Harry Houdini, before feeding man of the match Lochlan in a wide right position. Lochlan found the key to unlock the Looe defence once more, this time with a first time cross which found a hungry Ed who nipped in front of his marker at the front post and finished neatly with a scissor kick into the roof of the net. A stunning move which saw the game all but sealed. 4-1 TTA.
The final ten minutes saw goals galore as an unfortunate moment occurred for a Looe defender who put through his own net before their ever dangerous goal threat, Jayden, broke away from our back three to round the on rushing goalkeeper before calmly slotting into an empty net. 5-2 TTA. Our back three of Cullen, Callum and Kye were resolute throughout and must be commended for restricting Looe to just two goals, a team who has scored over fifteen in their last three matches in the competition. In the last moments of the game, with Looe pushing, the ball was kindly presented to Tyler who composed himself just inside the box before volleying past the resilient home goalkeeper. 6-2 TTA.
The whistle sounds and that’s it, The Taunton Academy make history and our year 10s continue to light the beacon of success that is our recently formed football academy. To the credit of their school and their families, the Looe PE teacher gathered the boys in to give them a talk. In his kind words, the boys were told how they were the best team he had seen during his career regarding their attitude and sportsman like behaviour. An incident of note being mid game when despite what was at stake, when an opposing player was bundled to the ground, Cullen made a concerted effort to support the player to his feet with his well-being the priority. The Looe teacher went on to wish our boys the best of luck in the next round and insisted that many young players could learn a lot of important life lessons from this fine group of individuals.
We march into the last eight where we will be travelling to either South Shropshire or Chester for the quarter final. This seems to be a reoccurring sentence of late, but this once again further cements this journey as one of the proudest moments that we, as coaches, have been a part of.