Owner Evans Watches as U18s Hit Top of Table and Secure Play-Off Place
Saturday, 30th Mar 2019 15:06 by James Ager
Blues' owner Marcus Evans watched on as Town's U18s went top of the Professional Development League Two South table and secured their place in the end-of-season play-offs with a comprehensive 6-3 victory over Crewe Alexandra at Playford Road on Saturday morning.
Zak Brown (pictured) gave the young Blues a third-minute lead with a crisp finish from the edge of the box, before former Town schoolboy Malachi Linton levelled the scores six minutes later following a defence-splitting through ball.
Alex keeper Sam Booth got down well to tip a low effort from Armando Dobra wide of the target but he was beaten on the half hour mark by Tyreece Simpson, who had played a neat one-two with Brown before coolly slotting the ball into the net.
Within a minute Booth was beaten for a third time; the stopper could only parry Brown's strike and Dobra was first to react to tap the ball home.
On 38 the visitors pulled another goal back though when Connor Heath fed the ball into Linton, who took a touch before turning and finding the top corner from 25 yards out with a fine finish that gave Jake Alley no chance.
Nine minutes after his introduction at half-time, Matt Healy's first-time cross from the right was fired into the net off the underside of the bar by Alex Henderson but then on 59, the centre-back was dispossessed by Linton and the forward squared the ball to Tyreece Onyeka to toe-poke past Alley at the back post.
However, just two minutes later Brown restored Town's two-goal advantage with an audacious chipped effort from the byline which curled and floated over Booth and found the net via the back post.
On 77 the three points were wrapped up when sub Lewis Reed, seconds after coming off the bench and with his first touch of the game, glanced Healy's left-sided corner beyond Booth from the near post.
Adem Atay and Kieron Dyer's side were in control for large parts of the game and thoroughly deserved the win, which takes them top of the league by two points following Cardiff City's 1-0 home defeat against Sheffield Wednesday, although the Bluebirds do still have a game in hand. Town are now 10 points ahead of third-placed Millwall, who have only three games remaining.
Owner Evans, who has been at the club for the last couple of days, was an interested spectator for most of the second half as he watched the game alongside Bryan Klug and Lee O'Neill, with Town continuing to place more and more of an emphasis on bringing youngsters through the academy.
U18s: Alley, Viral, T Smith, Baker (Oppong 81), Fehrenbach, Henderson, Ruffles (Reed 77), Foudil, Z Brown, Dobra, Simpson (Healy 46). Unused: Bort, Baggott.
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