U18s Crash Out of Youth Cup to Watford
Tuesday, 12th Feb 2019 22:09 by James Ager
Town's U18s crashed out of the FA Youth Cup at the last 16 stage on Tuesday evening as they were beaten 4-1 by Watford at Wingate and Finchley's Maurice Rebak Stadium, Thomas Hughes (pictured) the scorer of the Blues' goal.
Following a minute's applause for former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks who passed away earlier today, the Hornets opened the scoring after just five minutes.
Town stopper Toby Egan hesitated and his weak kick was picked up by Ryan Cassidy who played the ball to Jayden Bennetts, and he curled the ball into the top corner from around 25 yards out.
Five minutes later Bennetts turned George Langston's cross wide at the far post, before the home side doubled their advantage on 23.
Zak Brown conceded possession on the halfway line and a quick ball forward released Cassidy, who fired a low shot across Egan and in off the foot of the far post.
Just three minutes later Watford increased their lead through a rather dubious spot-kick. Ryley Scott fouled Bennetts but to the surprise of players and spectators alike, referee David Spain pointed to the spot rather than awarding a freekick on the edge of the box.
Cassidy stepped up and confidently found the bottom left corner of the net.
With the young Blues clearly struggling to get into the game, coaches Adem Atay and Kieron Dyer changed formation from 4-4-2 to 3-4-2-1 and on 34 it paid dividends.
A cross from the left was collected by Zak Brown and although his shot was blocked by Watford keeper Dante Baptiste's legs, Hughes was first to the loose ball and slotted home from six yards out.
With four minutes of the first half remaining, Hughes's left-sided corner dropped over Baptiste but was somehow headed across goal by Luca Vega from close range, rather than into the back of the net as it should have been.
Sonny Blu Lo-Overton curled a 20-yard freekick just over the bar minutes later, and then in stoppage time Idris El Mizouni tested Baptiste with a freekick at the other end but the keeper did well to hold it, with a number of Town players ready to pounce if the ball had been spilled.
As the hour-mark approached Bennetts flashed an effort just wide of the top corner, but on 66 he confirmed Watford's place in the quarter-finals when he toe-poked the ball past the advancing Egan after being played through on goal.
At the other end Armando Dobra pulled an effort just wide from the edge of the box but then aside from a stoppage time freekick from Dylan Crowe which Baptiste acrobatically dived to push away to safety.
Town's youngsters struggled to really create any other clearcut chances as they were well beaten by an impressive Watford side, who will now travel to face Leicester City in the quarter-finals.
U18s: Egan, Crowe, Smith, Scott (Simpson 70), Clements, Vega, Foudil (K Brown 55), El Mizouni, Z Brown, Dobra, Hughes. Unused: Alley, Ronan, Henderson.
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