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U23s Suffer Play-Off Heartbreak After Nine-Goal Thriller
Tuesday, 10th May 2022 16:40

Town’s U23s suffered PDL2 play-off disappointment as they were beaten 5-4 after extra-time by Coventry City in a pulsating semi-final encounter at the Coventry Building Society Arena. Tommy Hughes (pictured above) scored twice and Cameron Humphreys and Tawanda Chirewa once each for the young Blues, who were reduced to 10 men in extra time when skipper Albie Armin saw red.

The Blues, now coached by John McGreal following Kieron Dyer’s resignation, again included trialist left-back Max Hudson in their line-up.

Centre-half Armin captained with Elkan Baggott not included despite the Blues having prevented him from joining up with Indonesia's U23s, while forward Chirewa was back having missed last week’s 3-0 home victory over Sheffield United with tonsillitis.

The Sky Blues went in front in the seventh minute via Will Bapaga but Town hit back on the quarter hour via Hughes.

Humphreys, who had played in Hughes for the leveller, put the Blues ahead in the 29th minute.

But the home side hit back 10 minutes into the second half having improved after the break with Marco Rus making the scoreline 2-2.

Blues striker Gerrard Buabo headed against the bar in the penultimate minute or normal time and the game went into an additional half hour.

Town quickly restored their advantage when Hughes netted less than a minute after the restart to make it 3-2.

However, the Blues’ lead would only last eight minutes, Jonny Ngandu converting from the penalty spot after a foul by Edwin Agbaje.

But Town retook the lead again in the 105th minute via top scorer Chirewa with his 12th U23s PDL goal of the season.

The Blues suffered a double blow in the 113th minute when skipper Armin was red-carded after conceding a penalty, Ngandu successfully finding the net from the spot for the second time to make it 4-4.

And the Sky Blues went in front only two minutes later when when Ryan Howley headed home from close range.

That goal proved the winner and confirmed that the Sky Blues will face Bristol City in the final.

Losing at the play-off semi-final stage - as the U23s also did last season - having been in the lead three times will be a big disappointment but shouldn’t overshadow another very successful season for the young Blues, who topped Professional Development League Two South, while Humphreys and Baggott have had tastes of first-team football and the likes of Chirewa, Armin, Hughes and Zanda Siziba have also had impressive campaigns.

Town: Ridd, Agbaje (Valentine), Hudson (H Barbrook), Bradshaw, Kabongolo, Armin (c), Ward, Humphreys, Buabo, Chirewa, Hughes. Unused: Bort, Siziba.

Photo: Matchday Images

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runningout added 17:07 - May 10
Not a heartbreaker. Small blip and move on

backwaywhen added 17:08 - May 10
Done well lads take it all as a positive in your careers ……..

beachcomber added 17:34 - May 10
The lads should all be very proud of what they have achieved this season. Also missing today - in addition to Baggott who is mentioned in the write-up - was midfielder Alexander and forward Curtis as well as Dobra and Simpson - I'm assuming they were all injured as a couple of the squad are much younger.
Remember the losing feeling that you have tonight lads and make a mental note that you don't want to experience it very often. Today's feeling is just as important in your learning as training is on the pitch. Use it to your advantage in your careers. Good Luck to you all.

Veggie added 19:58 - May 10
A penalty and a sending off? Sounds overly harsh.

Stourbridgeblue added 20:19 - May 10
A fantastic 1st half performance where Town could have been out of sight (sounds familiar). Cov never gave up but Town had plenty of chances.The Cov keeper played a blinder. Cameron Humphreys was excellent and was impressed by Matt Ford too.

SouperJim added 08:45 - May 11
Double jeopardy doesn't apply to the U23s then, or the ref must have felt it was a professional foul?

ITFCBlue81 added 12:41 - May 11
Town should not have released Tommy Smith is a mistake by the club he could of made a difference

ITFCBlue81 added 19:46 - May 14
Tommy Smith was not on loan at bury Town this season he was permanent left back in the winning side for the under 23s

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