Yesterday (November 29, 2018) saw the Elite Development squads play Everton and Stourbridge (Kidderminster Harriers) respectively, with 14 players making the short trip to the latter to take on a side unbeaten within the Youth Alliance league, in the National Cup second round, writes Steve Benyon.
It was a perfect start for our young Saints, going 1-0 up inside 45 seconds through Harley Steel. The boys continued to play well, creating a host of chances, as well as remaining resolute at the back to go into the half-time interval 1-0 up.
Unfortunately, a catastrophic 4 minutes saw the side concede four sloppy goals, which is completely against their nature. From there on in it was always going to be an uphill battle playing against a very physical Everton side.
However, we managed to claw a goal back through James Rutter, but again we were dealt a sucker-punch with a slip from a player, allowing their striker to score in the top corner.
We huffed and puffed, and in all honesty could and should have scored four more ourselves after this, but we had to settle for a disappointing 5-2 defeat.
It was interesting to hear the views of the players at the final whistle, whereby we all agreed the four-minute collapse was nowhere near our normal high standards. However, we remain together and are keen to put it right on Friday, in preparation for Sunday’s clash against Airbus.
There was better news for the other squad at home to Stourbridge, who boasted a number of Kidderminster Harriers players, as they maintained their 100% record with a convincing 2-0 victory, through goals from Tom Williams and James Parry.
The players battled well against difficult conditions, but coaches Simon and Jason were happy with the efforts of each individual, and it was also pleasing to see Owen Williams and Ryan Walker-Boardman back on the bench after lengthy spells on the sidelines.
EDS 1 Squad vs Everton
1. Lewis Dutton, 2. Matt Cole, 18. Louis Bradford, 33. Jenson Jones, 38. Ismail Ozdemir, 5. Aaron Lloyd, 21. Harley Steel, 4. Alex Cadman, 9. Liam Parry, 25. James Rutter, 14. Harry Bower, 8. Ethan Short, 16. CJ Craven, 12. Josh Bailey
EDS 2 Squad vs Stourbridge (Kidderminster Harriers) Men’s 2
13. Robbie Williams, 22. Harry Woledge, 6. Liam Ihekwoaba, 19. Alex Brownhill, 15. Finley Jeffries, 10. Beau Cornish, 7. James Gregory-Cork (C), 27. Luis Edwards, 29. Owen Jones, 3. James Parry, 45, Tomos Williams, 23. Owen Williams, 28. Ryan Walker-Boardman, 24. Ryan McVeagh, 34. Cameron Brookfield, 36. Oliver Mitchell-Gough
Sunday (December 2 2018) sees the young Saints play away at Airbus in the Welsh Premier Development League, with a 2.00 p.m. kick-off time. We will be looking to keep the pressure on Cefn Druids.
The fixture will prove to be a difficult test but one with which we will prepare accordingly to try and achieve the three points. The team will be led by myself and Connor Roberts.