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U18s Defeat Aldershot to Set Up Youth Cup Tie at Tottenham
Friday, 19th Nov 2021 00:28 by James Ager

Town's U18s set-up a third-round FA Youth Cup tie at Tottenham Hotspur with a hard-fought 4-1 victory against Aldershot Town at the EBB Stadium on Thursday evening. Goals from Jack Manly, Ash Boatswain (pictured), Fin Barbrook and Tawanda Chirewa were enough for the young Blues to progress.

Coach Adem Atay made two changes from the starting XI that beat Winslow United 7-1 in the first round. Harry Knock and Edwin Agbaje, who only recently returned from international duty with the Republic of Ireland U18s, both started with Fin Barbrook and Sean Stephenson dropping to the bench.

Town made the perfect start by opening the scoring in just the third minute. Cameron Humphreys burst into the box and drilled the ball hard and low across goal. Chirewa saw his effort blocked but Manly tucked the loose ball into the net from close range.

Humphreys nearly had a second assist within ten minutes when his cross was flicked just beyond the far post by Tyrese Osbourne.

Tommy Barrell had the hosts first shot on goal shortly after when he curled a free-kick just over from the edge of the box but after a good start, the young Blues struggled to create too many more clearcut chances in the opening period, although Boatswain headed Humphreys' free-kick over and Chirewa hit a rising shot which also found the terraced stand behind the goal.

On the half-hour mark, another good delivery from Humphreys was headed back across goal and only a fine block kept Osbourne's volley out and Zak Bradshaw headed the resultant corner wide.

Bradshaw was then dispossessed in the Town half but Archie Coulter could only produce a tame effort which was comfortably gathered down low by Lewis Ridd.

However, just before the interval, Aldershot grabbed what had seemed an unlikely equaliser. Finn Evans's shot from the left side of the box was saved but only pushed into the danger area by Lewis Ridd and striker Harvey Limb was left with a simple tap-in, much to the delight of the home supporters.

Just after the restart, Humphreys received the ball in the box and hit an instinctive shot from close range which was well kept out at his near post by keeper Harvey Keogh. A few minutes later Chirewa blazed a free-kick well over from just outside the area.

On the hour, Chirewa turned on the edge of the box and got another shot away, but Keogh was equal to it down low to his left.

A couple of minutes later though, Town regained the lead. Another clever run forward allowed Humphreys to cross from the left and Keogh was unable to gather the loose ball which Boatswain capitalised on with a simple finish at the near post.

Fin Barbrook added a third on 69. Some last-ditch defending had denied Boatswain and another effort was blocked on the line but the sub reacted quickest and fired the loose ball into the net, despite some more desperate attempts from the home side to keep it out.

Keogh then did well to push another Chirewa effort away but the Town midfielder finally got his name on the scoresheet with three minutes remaining. Yet another burst into the box by Humphreys drew a rash challenge from Hedley Ogbebor and referee Nicholas Metcalfe was left with no option but to point to the spot, with Chirewa confidently stepping up and sending the keeper the wrong way.

Town never really got going properly in the first half after such an early goal, and to their credit the home side were well organised and a tough team to break down.

But the youngsters in blue kept going and two second-half goals in seven minutes killed the tie and helped Atay's side to avoid being on the wrong end of a cup upset.

Humphreys had an outstanding game in central midfield and was causing the home defence problems all night, with Chirewa also doing well and sub Barbrook showing some neat touches and taking his goal well.

The third round tie with Spurs must be played prior to Saturday 11th December.

U18s: Ridd, Agbaje, H Barbrook, Bradshaw, Knock, Armin, Osbourne (Nwabueze 65), Humphreys, Boatswain, Chirewa (Stephenson 88), Manly (F Barbrook 67). Unused: Cullum, Kieran, Steele, Cook. Att: 359.


Photo: James Ager



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Razor added 10:37 - Nov 19
Well done lads----pity for all of us that you dont get to play at the main stadium!!
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