PAIGNTON Villa were the only thing standing between Buckland Athletic reserves and another trophy lift.

Stoke Gabriel was the location for this Dartmouth Cup final, a chance to celebrate the culmination of another Division 1 campaign.

The game got underway at Broadley Lane with both sets of supporters getting behind their team. When Owen Caldwell crossed an innocuous ball into the box close to the back post after seven minutes, the Villa defender went to clear it and somehow it either hit his leg or the post, but the screams of the Buckland faithful seemed to help it over the line and Josh Houghton claimed the final touch.

Villa were stirred but not shaken by this, going straight on the attack at the other end. Stuart McCauley’s effort from the edge of the box bounced off of the chest of Buckland’s number one into the path of Ashley Beetchen, who was on hand to equalize.

Late-arriving supporters were disappointed to be told that they had missed two goals but they need not have worried as there was plenty more where that came from.

They only had to wait several minutes for the next twist in fact, a goalmouth scramble in the Buckland penalty area followed a Villa corner kick and Beetchen, who was in the right place at the right time once again, rounded it off.

Josh Houghton fired straight back for the Bucks, rocketing a shot into the roof of the net from 20 yards out after being allowed far too much space, 2-2.

12 minutes felt like a lengthy wait for another goal at this rate and it was Buckland who restored their lead. Callum Whiteoaks was on the receiving end of a precise cross from Luca Stiniforth- the Villa keeper had no chance.

A two-goal lead was opened up for the first time that afternoon with Houghton completing a first-half hat-trick. He rounded off a slick passing display to give Athletic breathing space, only for Beetchen to join him on three goals just moments later.

Paignton had the final say of the first 45 courtesy of McCauley, his header catching out the oncoming goalkeeper. It isn’t every day that a game sees eight goals, split equally, going into the break.

There were plenty of chances in the second half but of course, the rate of scoring wasn’t maintained by either team. As extra-time beckoned, Buckland substitute Phil Farrar found Lee Grimshaw unmarked, he remained composed and sent his players into the corner to celebrate with the decisive strike.

Beetchen was named as Man of the Match but it could have gone to any number of players in what was one of the most entertaining cup finals you’re likely to see.