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U23s Beat Coventry to Stay Top
Monday, 24th Sep 2018 20:56

Ben Folami scored twice and Jordan Roberts and Jack Lankester once each as Town’s U23s beat Coventry 4-1 at Portman Road to retain top spot in the Professional Development League Two South table.

The Blues started brightly and in the opening minute Andre Dozzell found Ben Folami on the left from where the Australian cut in before hitting a low shot which Coventry keeper Corey Addai saved down to his left.

Town kept up the early pressure and in the sixth minute lone striker Roberts cut in from the other flank and also shot straight at the keeper when the former Crawley man really ought to have played the ball across to a team-mate.

A minute later Jack Lankester, playing wide on the right, hit a shot from distance which Addai dealt with comfortably.

Lankester went closer with a 10th minute effort which took a deflection and Addai made a fine save down to his right. Folami reached the rebound first and hit a shot on the turn which a Sky Blues defender diverted over.

And from the corner the Blues scored the goal their start deserved. Coventry failed to deal with the ball into the box and U23s skipper Chris Smith, who has returned to Town with his loan at Aldershot having been cut short, did well to work himself space to chip back across from the right and Roberts headed home.

Harry Wright, a spectator up to this point, was forced into his first action on 13 but Jodi Jones’s shot from distance gave the Town keeper no problem.

But the game continued to be played almost entirely at the other end as the quarter-hour mark passed with Myles Kenlock hitting a low shot from a tight angle on the left which Addai claimed low, before Folami struck an effort from a similar position which deflected out for a corner.

Coventry were having trouble seeing any of the ball with the young Blues passing it around slickly and at pace, although at times a little too confidently around the edge of their own penalty area.

Idris El Mizouni, in a midfield trio with Dozzell and the deeper Flynn Downes, wasn’t too far away from the game’s second goal in the 25th minute after Lankester seized on Coventry defensive hesitancy. The ball eventually found its way to the Frenchman on the edge of the box but his shot was just too high.

Town went close again in the 29th minute when Lankester broke away down the right and curled in a low ball with the outside of his left boot but Folami could only slide it wide at the far post.

Coventry almost scored an equaliser in the 35th minute after some sloppy play by Kenlock but Jordy Hiwula’s shot was deflected wide.

Three minutes later, Town went close to their second, Roberts just heading wide from a Lankester corner on the right, then Downes’s shot looped up to Folami, who nodded into Addai’s hands.

But the Australian didn’t have to wait too long to double the Blues’ lead. On 40 he was fed by Kenlock as he broke into the area and deftly took the ball past a man before shooting low past Addai.

Town were well worth their two-goal lead, however, Coventry went straight up the end and pulled a goal back via their first serious shot on goal of the evening.

Reice Allassani was forced out wide on the left by Corrie Ndaba but somehow got in a cross and Jones forced the ball home off the inside of the post.

Having been allowed to regain a foothold in the game, the Sky Blues saw most of the ball during the remainder of the half albeit without threatening again.

Town were well worth their lead at the break having dominated the first period for the most part and will be frustrated that the lead was only one goal having looked shaky defensively on the rare occasions Coventry broke forward.

The Sky Blues were the first to go close in the second half in the 57th mark, Hiwula heading against the stanchion at the far post from a cross from the right.

Town, with Roberts now wide on the left and Folami down the middle, had been far less dominant during the opening third of the second period with Coventry seeing much more of the ball, while the Blues’ backline again showed a tendency to overplay themselves into potentially dangerous situations.

The game had been a much more even affair in the second half but in the 71st minute Town restored their two-goal lead.

Folami’s shot from inside the box was blocked and the ball ran loose to Lankester breaking in from the right behind him from where the 18-year-old struck a powerful low shot past Addai.

Coventry again looked to hit straight back but Jones’s curling shot arced just wide of Wright’s right post.

On 76 Kenlock was booked for pulling back Jones midway inside the Town half and from the resultant freekick Allassani hooked over the bar.

Two minutes later Zain Westbrooke volleyed over for the visitors following a corner, then on 80 Dylan Crowe was booked for a foul.

Six minutes from time Town made it 4-1. Dozzell and El Mizouni exchanged passes to reach the edge of the box before the England U19 international somehow squeezed the ball through a crowd of players to Folami to his right and the Australian hit a low shot across Addai and into the corner of the net for his second goal of the evening.

The Blues swapped Lankester, who had more than played his part in the U23s’ fourth win of the season, for Kai Brown for the final four minutes.

Overall, Town were well worth their win having dominated a first half in which they had more than enough chances to have sealed the victory, with Coventry unable to get on top of midfield trio Downes, Dozzell and El Mizouni.

The Sky Blues were far more in it after the break but Town, watched by boss Paul Hurst and assistant Chris Doig, gradually restored their earlier dominance and Lankester and Folami took their chances clinically when they came.

Town: Wright, Crowe, Kenlock, Smith (c), Ndaba, Downes, Dozzell, Roberts, El Mizouni, Lankester (K Brown 86), Folami. Unused: Egan, Clements, Z Brown, Marshall.

Coventry: Addai, Green, Camwell, Ogogo, Davies, Williams, Jones (Bremang 85), Westbrooke, Bakayoko (Eccles 90), Hiwula (Stedman 88), Allassani. Unused: Bilson, Walters.

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Dissboyitfc added 21:02 - Sep 24
need some of these in the first team, i am not understanding the Dozzel situation at all.

Sm00411 added 21:03 - Sep 24
Can't help but think the first team could learn a thing or two by watching these youngsters. Some of their one and two touch football and clinical finishing is pure class.

Thank god the academy are providing us with some optimism for the future!

HALLSJ added 21:06 - Sep 24
Your comments are so true, we wonder if the management will take note!!

Popeye added 21:06 - Sep 24
Maybe the U23 manager should be managing the first team squad bcos he can’t do any worse than PH at the moment

speccybaz added 21:08 - Sep 24
A breath of much needed fresh air.

RobITFC added 21:21 - Sep 24
Well done to the U23's for anothger good win, however the pace of the game is a whole lot slower than the championship, so just because the players look good at this level does not mean they would make a huge difference in the 1st team. Would love to see 2 or 3 of them in the 1st team squad on Saturday.

Wacko added 21:22 - Sep 24
You can't equalise when you're 2-0 down...

rfretwell added 21:30 - Sep 24
How long must we wait for Andre to get even just ten minutes in our first team? The New Year perhaps? Can we afford to wait that long for his quick, intuitive defence splitting passes to our wayward strikers?

armchaircritic59 added 21:32 - Sep 24
You repeatedly hear the mantra about young players being sent out on loan for experience. Have to say i much prefer them gaining experience at the level they're going to come back to (hopefully!) rather than a lesser one!

kozmik added 21:33 - Sep 24
Chris Smith recalled? Interesting

BlueandTruesince82 added 21:41 - Sep 24
I believe under the terms of Smith's loan he is still available for the u23s...

A team with Kenlock, Downes and Dozzell at the top of the league.... I know it's not the same level but

busterjames1 added 22:08 - Sep 24
Great team play .Slick passing and no hoof ball ! Our coach for the youngsters should be promoted .

Cloddyseedbed added 22:21 - Sep 24
Watched this tonight and I'm a season ticket holder. Can't see for the life of me why Hurst considers Nolan to be worth a place in the 1st team ahead of Dozzell. Nolan is pedestrian at best and looks like he can't be arsed, yet still he gets picked. Dozzell and Folami should most certainly be in or around the 1st team. They will only get better and have more quality than some of the newcomers. Sorry, most of the newcomers.

BlueArrow added 22:22 - Sep 24
Well done lads at least one end of the dog is wagging

Help added 22:25 - Sep 24
Okay, How does one get tickets to U23 home games because when I go on the ITFC website and click on the link next to the Cardiff City home fixture in November It links to the standard ticket site with 1st team tickets only.

Also how much does U23 game cost. I am thinking of filling my Monday nights with some excitement. Thanks for the advice in advance

madmouse1959 added 22:25 - Sep 24
Really enjoy watching the reserve games. Some lovely football and plenty of work-rate , proper teamwork. Of course its very different to Championship football playing against strong players and less time on the ball. Just nice to see young footballers enjoying themselves and i hope they all go on to a good future at this club. Well Done !!! ( in the pre season game i thought Dozzell and Nydam were really good. Against Blackburn i thought Woolfy looked comfortable and Morris bought a spark into the game. Ironically none of them are considered anymore, bizarre.

penuthead57 added 22:29 - Sep 24
Well done all! Now can we please see some of these guys in the first team! PLEASE

afcfee added 22:34 - Sep 24
The passing was brilliant tonight playing out of the back so good and tired the opposition out. One of the best performances I've seen at PR in a while! Roberts was bad not sure going to happen for him at Town. Downes was different class stuck out big time, there is no way he should not be starting over Skuse that's disgraceful iMO that's happening when you consider his potential. Dozzel and Downes should both be in the first team maybe they don't fit into PHs style of play(hoofball?)

NITFC added 22:36 - Sep 24
So once more Andre Dozzell manages 90 minutes despite not being fit ........

Taricco_Fan added 22:40 - Sep 24
We have a production line of talent coming through our excellent youth setup and another manager seemingly reluctant to use this asset to the club. It's very frustrating.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 22:44 - Sep 24
A bad start for a new manager is one thing but to do so after dismissing almost all of our academy players as soon as you arrive, only to see YOUR team bottom (ish) and winless whilst the U18s and U23s are top of their leagues, makes Mr Hurst look just a little silly.

budgieplucker added 23:05 - Sep 24
Another great evenings entertainment, Town started excellently with a super demonstration of excellant football with lovely triangles and passing all over the park leaving Coventry chasing shadows and after we went two nil up I thought we were in for another big scoring performance. However, to be fair to the lads from Coventry they battled back and got a grip on the game to pull a goal back and then for the first 20 or so minutes in the second half knocked us out of our stride and made life difficult for us. Town then did really well to pick their game up mid second half to go on and put the game well beyond any doubt with two more goals.

Good performances all round with Dozzell and Downes shining and dominating the midfield for large parts of the match. Ben Folami again showed skill and determination and was causing havoc in the Coventry defence. Ben played wide first half and did a good job there before playing most of the second half up front. Young Dylan Crowe starting to grow up and getting taller and looking more assured now. Great enthusiasm from Myles Kenlock. El Mizouni also showed some lovely touches in the middle of the park.

All credit to the coaching staff and in particular Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg who could actually have a big future at the club.

@help....if you are a season ticket holder then U23 games are free by just showing your season ticket. If not just turn up with 3 shiny pound coins - yes just three pound and find one of the two open turnstiles in the Cobbold Stand. The upper stand is the only section open and stewards will advise where you can take your pick of the seats available.

Northstandveteran added 23:10 - Sep 24
The atmosphere sounded better than Saturday.

TraktorBoyz added 23:19 - Sep 24
If we need a caretaker soon I know who I want.

MickMillsTash added 23:27 - Sep 24
regardless of standard (Coventry rubbish) some wonderful first touches that would be good enough at any level.
Dozzell so much like his Dad - Maybe include in squad on Saturday and put the pressure on Nolan to produce

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