Elite Development Squad 2 v Newcastle-under-Lyme.English Schools And Colleges Trophy Round 2.
Report by Steve Benyon.
On Friday, September 28th 2018, 14 of the Performance Phase players faced Newcastle-under-Lyme away in the English Schools and Colleges Trophy Round 2.
It was a glorious afternoon, and the boys started very positively against a team littered with Category 1 players. We controlled proceedings moving the ball well, but were dealt a sucker punch with 2 quick-fire goals conceded to see us go into the half-time break 2-0 down.
It was clear to see that the players were frustrated with the way they ended the half, but together we stuck to a plan, by altering personnel and shape slightly, to go and have a go in the second half.
Wow….the response was immediate.
A front 2 of Louis Bradford and Aaron Lloyd completely turned the game on its head, with fantastic hold-up and link-up play which resulted in scoring a goal each.
We were now on the front foot, creating chance after chance and limiting Newcastle to within their own half. A drop in concentration though saw Newcastle score again to make it 3-2. The boys refused to lie down, however, and responded with an equaliser through Alex Cadman.
We continued to pepper the opposition goal, right through into extra time, but the match would ultimately be decided by penalties. Unfortunately we couldn’t repeat our previous heroic performance, and we went down 3-0 in the penalty shoot-out.
As a coaching staff, myself and Simon Smith were extremely proud of all the players’ efforts, especially in the second half, and the desire and passion each and every one showed.
We were extremely unfortunate to lose on penalties, and we will certainly not be pointing any fingers at any of the penalty takers, as they each had the bravery to step up and take one.
We can take huge encouragement as a phase going forward, and we now rest and recover ready for games next week in the West Midlands Regional tournament and Shrewsbury Colleges in the Shropshire County Cup.
30. Rob Johnson
19. Alex Brownhill
12. Josh Bailey
18. Louis Bradford
6. Liam Ihekwoaba
5. Aaron Lloyd
8. Ethan Short
4. Alex Cadman
29. Owen Jones
7. James Gregory-Cork (C)
15. Finley Jeffries
Luis Edwards, Oliver Mitchell-Gough, Owen Williams