ACYFLC; Athletic U18 on track for second semi-final

Buckingham Athletic U18 – 3

Didcot Town – 1

Buckingham Athletic under 18’s progressed through to the semi-finals of the Allied Counties Youth League Cup with a hard fought win over divisional rivals Didcot Town at Stratford Fields on Thursday night. Top of the league Didcot took the game to their hosts in the first half, and lead at the break through a Brett Gardner goal, but after the break the home side showed some fighting determination in midfield and scored the goals needed to take them through to the semis. Didcot were the last side to beat Buckingham back in early December, and they enjoyed some lengthy possession in the first forty-five minutes, but it took a breakaway goal for them to lead, although the crossbar did deny them before the opener, but they had no answer to the resurgent Athletic side in the second period.

An early corner to the hosts saw Rory Busby swing the ball in towards the near post where Chris Atkinson got some space but could only steer wide of goal, and a free kick at the other end to Didcot saw Chris Mortimore curl straight into Larry Mills’ gloves.

On eleven minutes an Athletic attack down their right seemed to have broken down when Luke McAndrew surrendered possession, but the Didcot defender in trying to clear simply sent the ball across his own penalty area to the feet of Harvey Thorne who went for goal first time, firing too far right of Ash Stevens in the Town goal.

Larry Mills kept Didcot at bay

Five minutes later Didcot were a lick of paint from taking the lead, a cross from their right saw Henry Horton hit the ball inside the box only for it to come back off the crossbar, & Mills had to recover quickly to block a follow up shot with his feet.

The visitors had a good spell where they continued to threaten the Athletic goal, Mortimore again got the ball in front goal, back to goal he had to retreat a few yards before he could turn and shoot but again only into the waiting gloves of Mills.

On nineteen minutes Didcot took the lead when a Buckingham attack broke down high up the pitch, the ball cleared up to Horton who in turn released Gardner to run at goal, Mills advanced to try and avert the danger but the midfielder lifted the ball past Mills and into the empty net.

The away side then wasted a glorious chance minutes later when heading a corner over the top from right in front of the goal, and by this stage they’d had enough chances to put the game to bed. Ben Acquaye then showed his quality when releasing Thorne away on goal, the Didcot defence had their keeper to thank as he came out to block at the left backs feet to divert for a corner. H/T: 0-1

Larry Mills was forced into another good block within thirty seconds of the restart, and this let off seemed to kick start the Buckingham come back. Sam Olawale was fed in down the left but his shot lacked conviction and was comfortable for Stevens to collect.

Athletic drew themselves level on fifty-five minutes when a diagonal ball across midfield saw Acquaye chase the ball towards the corner of the Didcot box, a clumsy challenge saw the Athletic player floored and a penalty awarded. Geraint Minney was made to wait whilst the away side complained and received a booking in the aftermath, his spot kick eventually saved by Stevens but the striker was first to the loose ball to side foot home.

Ben Acquaye involved in all three goals

Busby then had a chance down the left, driving towards the near post he forced Stevens to turn around his post for a corner, then on sixty-five minutes Athletic took the lead through Olawale when some great work out on the right saw Acquaye square across the six-yard box, and at the back post Olawale couldn’t miss.

Five minutes later Acquaye stretched his sides lead, some superb passing from the home side saw them move the ball around the Didcot defence and eventually Matt Chew fed in Acquaye who twisted and turned before curling into the top corner from twelve yards out.

Minney & Acquaye combined well to feed Busby who screwed wide from the penalty arc, before Acquaye used his pace & strength to out muscle a defender and drive at goal forcing a great save from Stevens from close range.

Didcot almost found a lifeline late on, a ball down the middle of the park saw Matt Ritz away on goal, as he prepared to shoot a superb recovery from Atkinson saw the Buckingham defender get back and slide in to take the ball off the Town player’s foot in the nick of time.

There was a late chance again for Acquaye, a Town attack broke down and the ball cleared up to the winger, he again left his marker behind but from twelve yards fired wide, and deep in added time Didcot substitute Tyrhys Luko tried an acrobatic bicycle kick from close range but fired wide of Mills goal frame. F/T: 3-1

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After the game Sports Shots spoke with Sam Pateman: 

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