U23s Defeat Watford
Thursday, 11th Apr 2019 14:47
Kai Brown and Lounes Foudil scored the goals as Town’s table-topping U23s beat Watford 2-1 at Playford Road. Brown gave the young Blues the lead in the 24th minute before Marley Blair pulled one back for the Hornets, but sub Foudil sealed the victory 12 minutes from time.
Town included trialist Deese Kasinga-Madia, who is currently with Newcastle United, at left wing.
Congo-born, London-raised Kasinga-Madia joined the Magpies from Brentford in the summer of 2017.
The 18-year-old, who was named one of the top 20 talents aged under 18 by The Guardian not long after his move to the North-East, recently spent time on trial at Norwich.
The powerfully-built trialist was quickly into the action, sending over a decent cross in the opening minute but which ultimately came to nothing. Three minutes later, Watford’s number 11, Harry Forster, curled a shot well wide.
The Blues had most of the ball but without creating a chance until the 15th minute when Kai Brown’s shot deflected through to Hornets keeper Adam Parkes, and even that was little more than a half-chance.
But it was Brown who would give Town the lead in the 24th minute. The former Grays man brought the ball forward from halfway and fed striker Tyreece Simpson, who played a clever return ball through and Brown deftly stroked the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Watford levelled with their first serious attack in the 34th minute and what a strike it was. After Brett McGavin had lost possession in halfway, Blair cut in from the right and smashed a shot across Town keeper Toby Egan and into the corner of the net.
The Hornets weren’t far away from going in front in the 36th minute when Forster curled an effort past Egan’s left post. Moments later, Blair scuffed an effort through to the Blues keeper from the edge of the area.
On 40 Watford number nine Jayden Bennetts got away from Pat Webber and broke towards goal but U23s skipper Corrie Ndaba expertly read the situation and came across to out-muscle the striker as he moved into the area.
In the 43rd minute right-back Barry Cotter sent Brown away down the right but his cross was blocked. Armando Dobra followed up but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Parkes.
That was the final action of a first half which the Blues had largely controlled but without being able to create too many clear-cut chances.
Town made two changes at the break with Simpson and Dobra making way for Colin Oppong, another trialist from Cliftonville in Northern Ireland, who was on the bench for the U23s earlier in the week and prior to that for the U18s, and French midfielder Lounes Foudil.
Within a minute of the restart the Blues almost regained their lead with Ndaba rising highest to head a corner from the right off the top of the bar and over.
On 57 Cotter curled a strike not too far wide after cutting in from the right, before the Blues swapped Elder, who had an unassuming but solid first game back after surgery and seemed to come through unscathed, for academy scholar Tommy Smith.
Watford had seen more of the ball in the early stages of the half but the Blues had gradually taken firm control but without being able to find a way through a deep-lying Hornets defence. However, on 71, after a freekick following a foul on Cotter, McGavin brought the ball forward before smashing a shot not too far wide.
Town continued to dominate and in the 78th minute they deservedly regained their lead. Brown crossed from the right and Lounes turned the ball into the net from eight yards off a defender.
In the final minute, Watford goalscorer Blair hit a freekick past the Town wall and also beyond the post.
Another deserved victory for the side coached by Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg, who have already been confirmed as winners of the Professional Development League Two South table and through to the play-offs where they will be at home in the semi-final.
Skipper Ndaba was again a rock at the back and looks a player who may well make an impact at first-team level next season, while McGavin pulled the strings in midfield.
Trialist Kasinga-Madia, strong and confident on the ball, showing technical ability, had some bright moments, although was in and out of the game and faded. Powerful number nine Oppong had a largely quiet half having come on at the break.
Boss Paul Lambert watched from the sidelines with Stuart Taylor, Matt Gill, Bryan Klug and Blues legend Terry Butcher.
The youngsters are in action in their final league game against Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on Monday (KO 7pm) with the play-off likely to be the following week, also at Portman Road.
U23s: Egan, Cotter, Elder (T Smith 57), Webber, Ndaba, McGavin, Scott, Dobra (Foudil 46), Simpson (Oppong 46), K Brown, Kasinga-Madia. Unused: Alley, Ruffles.
Watford: Parkes, Balogon, Janjeva, Phillips, Langston, Wise (Blu-Lo Everton 57), Lewis, Bennetts, Toiny-Pendred (Taylor 71), Blair, Forster (Brooks 63). Unused: Taylor, White.
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