Convincing Premier Cup Win for U18s at Hadleigh
Tuesday, 14th Nov 2017 23:42 by James Ager
A hat-trick from Jack Lankester and a brace from strike partner Declan Daniels secured a comfortable 5-1 win for Town's U18s at Hadleigh United in the second round of this season's Omni Freight Premier Cup on Tuesday evening.
The Blues took a ninth-minute lead when a fine through ball from Armando Dobra released Lankester, and the frontman drilled a left-footed shot across keeper Sam Mansfield and into the far bottom corner of the net.
The hosts came close to levelling the scores soon after when Kris Rose volleyed over, and then Ash Veitch turned well on the edge of the box and fired an effort just wide.
Mansfield was out quickly to prevent Lankester latching onto a pass from Brett McGavin midway through the half, shortly before Steven Cahill diverted the former's cutback from the byline wide from close range.
The Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side should have gone in level at the break when a chipped ball into the box from James Ross was met by Rose, but the centre-back diverted his diving header wide of the target.
However on 56 the hosts did equalise when half-time substitute Jack Lambert met Aaron Ball's right-sided cross and sent his free header back across goal and into the net.
Just seven minutes later Town failed to make the most of a golden opportunity to regain their advantage. Lankester was blatantly chopped down in the box by Joel Cooper but then stepped up to blaze his spotkick well over the crossbar.
A few minutes later though the young Blues did retake the lead when Dobra intercepted a poor pass from keeper Mansfield and teed up Daniels to tap the ball into an empty net.
The Liverpudlian striker then struck a fierce effort from 25 yards that clipped the bar on its way over, before Lankester atoned for his earlier penalty miss on 72 when he slid in to convert following a burst forward from sub Dylan Crowe, who had done well to beat Mansfield to another McGavin through ball.
The possession that Town had enjoyed throughout much of the first half was clearly taking its toll on a tiring Hadleigh sid, and just three minutes later Daniels added a fourth when he ran onto a ball from Lankester and confidently beat Mansfield.
On 77 a ball across the box was met by Crowe at the back post and while his effort was blocked on the line, Daniels slid in and Lankester claimed to have got the final touch before the ball crossed the line for Town's fifth.
The hosts had Mansfield to thank for preventing any further scoring late on as he did well to block another back post effort from Crowe and then a shot from Lankester, who was again thwarted in the final minute by a fine, last ditch goal-line clearance from captain Rose.
It was another good workout for Town's youngsters against local non-league opposition, who were certainly in the match for the first two-thirds of it.
McGavin controlled much of the game with an impressive display in central midfield, while Lankester again took his goals well and was involved in some good build-up play too.
The U18s next game is on Friday evening when they face local rivals Colchester United in a league fixture at Maldon & Tiptree's Wallace Binder ground (7pm KO).
U18s: Ware, Henry (Clements 65), Cahill (D Crowe 65), Ndaba, Marshall, Vega, El Mizouni, McGavin (Murrell 78), Daniels, Lankester, Dobra. Unused: Egan.
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