Welwyn Garden City U18 – 9
Buckingham Athletic U18 – 0
Buckingham Athletic U18’s were blown away on Thursday night by a rampant Welwyn Garden City side to end their journey in this season’s FA Youth Cup, in a fairly one sided game saw those in blue run ragged time after time and thoroughly demoralised within the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Some substitutions stemmed the flow of attacks for the final stages of the game, but had it not been for some good saves, clearances off the line and the woodwork the scoreline would have been much greater. This City side could have a good run in this competition if they play like this in every round, some clearly talented lads in their group who are surely destined for long careers in the game.
An early free kick for the home side some twenty-five yards from goal saw Sam Willis step up and show his sides intentions of going for goal, his low effort forcing Athletic keeper Hayden Coombs down to his left to push away, moments later a similar scenario saw the same City defender curl around the post. The hosts continued to take the game to their guests and a break down their left with Gustavo Pereira saw him get away from his marker, advancing towards the area he went to cross to Kevin Maresi in the middle but Luke McEvaddy slid in to block for a corner just at the last minute.
Buckingham won a free kick on twenty minutes and a looping cross saw Cassius Brookes climb with two defenders on him, he got his head to the ball but could only help it wide for a goal kick. The home side then took the lead just two minutes later, gaining possession in midfield the ball was fed out to Billy Hodgkins who found Maresi in front of goal who could not miss. It was very soon two when a long lump upfield by the home keeper Lamin Bandura saw a flick on in midfield and racing away Hodgkins smashed into the top corner from distance.
Pereira then thought he had scored when beating Coombs to a through ball, his deft touch heading for goal until Shafat Huq covered across to thump away to safety, but on the stroke of half time the third goal did arrive when a cross was headed up into the dark skies by a Buckingham defender and Hodgkins pounced as it landed at his feet to sweep home. H/T: 3-0
Any thoughts of a comeback were firmly quashed within minutes of the restart, as Welwyn ran riot amongst the shell shocked masses of blue. Within seconds of the whistle skipper Tashae Andale-Gibbons slipped a perfect pass through the away backline for Pereira to attack but was denied by a quick thinking Coombs who dived bravely at his feet to smoother. They next attack saw the hosts score their fourth after Athletic surrendered possession in midfield & Jaden Philidene went on a mazy run, evading several challenges he smashed home despite Coombs getting a hand to the shot.
On fifty minutes it was five, Maresi turning provider this time from the right as he squared into the box and with two City shirts in the middle it was left to Pereira to get on the scoresheet. Coree Palfrey made it six soon after when a free kick seemed to be harmlessly rolling away but a City player got to the byline to retrieve and cross, Pereira got his head on it and the ball came back off the post and hesitation in the Buckingham defence allowed Palfrey to pick up and drive past Coombs.
By this point the visitors had surrendered and had no response to their dominant hosts, and Welwyn duly made it seven on the hour mark when again the Athletic defence lost the ball trying to play out from the back, Philidene pressured to take the ball away and skipped over several challenges before rounding Coombs and slotting into the empty net. Substitute Elton Anning had a rare chance when the home defence gave him the ball twenty yards out, his fierce drive pushed away by Bandura for a corner.
The respite was brief, straight up the opposite end Riyaadh Miah was booked for a challenge in his own box where a penalty was awarded to the home side, Andale-Gibbons tried to be clever with a chip from twelve yards but only managed to clear the crossbar. It wasn’t long however until the eighth goal did arrive, a free kick into the Athletic box saw an initial shot saved, a follow up blocked, a third shot saved again but with no one defending Willis drifted in to tuck home the rebound.
Maresi then went close when he walked through the Buckingham backline and his shot across goal bounced off the back post and no one up with him to capitalise, and another Willis free kick curled around the wall saw Coombs have to dive to his left to gather. Athletic gave the ball away in midfield and Maresi was away down the right channel with just four minutes left, his shot across the goal face saw a bobble take the ball onto the post again but this time it bounced back across the empty six-yard box but again no one on hand to tap home and the danger was eventually cleared.
Pereira then caused havoc again inside the away penalty area, his initial shot saved by Coombs inside the six-yard area, two further shots were blocked before a raised flag halted the attack, but on the stroke of time they did get another when Rahzir Smith-Jones cutting in from the right saw his shot saved by Coombs but following up Maresi tapped into the empty net. F/T: 9-0
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