Drinan Nets Hat-Trick But U23s Lose to Hull
Monday, 9th Apr 2018 15:06
Aaron Drinan netted a hat-trick but was on the losing side as the Blues’ U23s were beaten 4-3 by Hull City in an entertaining end-to-end affair at Playford Road.
Town fielded a very young side with no first-teamers involved, while the absence of Ben Folami, Ben Morris and Barry Cotter suggests they're likely to be with the squad facing Barnsley at Portman Road tomorrow.
The visitors took the lead after only four minutes when Callum Smith was sent away behind the Blues’ backline and delicately lifted the ball over Blues keeper Nick Hayes and into the net.
But the lead lasted only three minutes. A well-worked move down the right involving Shane McLoughlin eventually led to Jack Lankester playing a clever reverse pass into the path of Aaron Drinan to his right and the Irishman slipped the ball under Hull keeper Cullum Burton.
Conor McKendry shot low to Burton’s right in the 11th minutes but the keeper was able to claim after Drinan had laid the ball off the the Northern Irish winger.
On 15 McKendry curled a 25-yard freekick into Burton’s arms with the Blues looking dangerous whenever they broke into the Hull half.
Eight minutes later, Jayden Antwi smashed a well-struck shot wide before McKendry went close again with a shot from distance which flew only just past Burton’s right post.
Hull had begun to look the more threatening side and in the 29th minute they restored their lead.
Following a freekick on the left, a deep but low cross from the right somehow reached Smith at the far post and the wideman tucked his second of the game under Hayes with
The Blues looked to hit back and Drinan saw an effort blocked following corner on the left in the 37th minute.
Less than a minute later, Bailey Clements’s low cross found the former Waterford man but keeper Burton came out quickly to block. From the corner, Drinan was crowded out after the ball fell to him.
In injury time Brett McGavin looped a header into Burton’s arms but the Blues were unable to level prior to the whistle.
The half-time scoreline was a little harsh on Town who had created most of the chances but were twice made to pay for bad defending.
Hull’s Antwi hit the second half’s first shot nine minutes after the restart, Hayes helping his deflected effort wide.
And from the flag-kick the visitors increased their lead. Robbie McKenzie turned the corner from the right goalwards and McLoughlin was unable to clear off the line, the Irishman clearly feeling he ought to have done better as the Hull players celebrated.
The Tigers had made the better start to the second period even before the goal but Town gradually began to make their mark, Lankester shooting over on the turn from Drinan’s cross following a corner.
Midfielder James Blanchfield went within inches from pulling a goal back for the Blues in the 62nd minute with a well-timed half-volley which flew just past the post, then at the other end Hull sub Tom Powell turned a cross from the right not too far wide.
Drinan netted his second of the game in the 69th minute to make it 3-2, the one-time Cork City youngster rifling a low shot past Burton from the right of the area after McLoughlin had found him with a well-weighted pass.
Almost immediately, Lankester forced Burton to save his shot from the left of the box, then sent his subsequent effort across the face of goal and wide.
Drinan levelled for the Blues and grabbed his hat-trick in the 74th minute. Lankester’s blocked shot deflected to his feet and the Irish striker slammed into the net.
Town introduced Ben Knight, one of two schoolboys in the squad along with Alex Henderson, and Kai Brown, who recently signed from Grays Athletic, in the 81st minute for right-back Dylan Crowe. Three minutes later Idris El Mizouni took over from Blanchfield.
With four minutes remaining, Hull restored their lead with the goal of the afternoon, Liam Edwards brought the ball forward down the right, cut in and smashed a powerful 25-yard strike to the right of Hayes and into the net.
Greg Olley shot wide for the visitors as they went looking for a fifth, then at the other end McGavin’s shot was blocked, then in the final minute McLoughlin flicked a header over from a corner on the left.
However, the Blues were unable to grab the equaliser which would have won them a point they probably deserved on the balance of the game.
Drinan, however, will be pleased to have netted a hat-trick with Folami and Morris having moved ahead of him in the pecking order, while second-year scholar Lankester was an impressive foil alongside him throughout.
U23s: Hayes, D Crowe (K Brown 81), Clements, Marshall, Ndaba, McGavin, McLoughlin, Blanchfield (El Mizouni 84), Lankester, Drinan, McKendry (Knight 81). Unused: Wright, Henderson.
Hull City: Burton, McKenzie, Jacob, Batty, Ritson, Thacker, Edwards, Chadwick, Antwi (Powell 61), Olley. Unused: Smith, Salmer, Sheaf, Lewis-Potter, Greaves.
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