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U18s Off to Winning Start in Northern Ireland
Monday, 25th Jul 2022 22:56 by Jude Gale

Town’s U18s began their SuperCupNI campaign with a dominant 2-0 win over San Francisco Glens in Castlerock on Monday evening.

The young Blues, who were late replacements for Ghanian side Right To Dream, started this year's competition in style thanks to early goals from Paul Moodie and Nico Valentine (pictured).

It only took the Tractor Boys two minutes to take the lead against their American opponents. A fantastic long ball forward from Finn Steele was flicked on by Ash Boatswain to Gerrard Buabo, who was then fouled inside the box. Midfielder Moodie stepped up and calmly converted the penalty to open the scoring.

Town were close to scoring again within the opening five minutes after great work from Valentine won a free-kick 35 yards out. Ben Haddoch tried his luck with a sweetly struck shot which required the keeper’s fingertips to push the ball over the bar.

Ipswich were rewarded for their constant pressure throughout the first 15 minutes with a second goal. Buabo and Boatswain combined dangerously down the right before pulling the ball back to Finley Barbrook who set the ball for Valentine to finish clinically from short range.

Attacking threats from San Francisco Glens were regularly cut out through the middle by Steele and Calum Logan meaning that young Town goalkeeper Danny Cullum was left with a relatively quiet first half with the game played in two periods of 35 minutes.

The midfield two of Moodie and Haddoch also controlled the centre of the pitch superbly throughout and ensured that Town held the majority of possession.

The Blues continued to look threatening, especially down the right side as Seth O’Neill and Buabo regularly causing problems for the American backline.

It looked like a third was coming for Town after Buabo expertly turned his marker and set up Barbrook whose shot was held well by the opposition goalkeeper.

The young Town side started the second half as they ended the first and continued to look like the next team to score. However, resilient defending from the San Francisco outfit ensured that the game remained alive.

Midway through the second half and with time running out, the American side began to take the game to Ipswich, creating several chances in hope of reducing the deficit.

Much of the danger for Town came down the wings but was consistently dealt with by O’Neill and Logan. Keeper Cullum was sprawled into action late into the game to shut out any aerial threats into the box.

The U18s play Co Fermanagh on Tuesday evening for their second group game of the competition.

Meanwhile, Rio Oudnie-Morgan, 16, who is among this summer's new intake of full-time academy scholars, played 61 minutes for Northern Ireland's U18s as they were beaten 3-2 by their Manchester United counterparts in Coleraine yesterday in the Elite section of the tournament. The teams meet again in Ballymena on Wednesday.

U18s: Danny Cullum, Seth O’Neill (Nick Nkansa-Dwamena 48), Finn Steele, Calum Logan (Logan Dobbs 59), Harry Barbrook, Paul Moodie (Revin Domi 35), Ben Haddoch (Alex Graham 59), Finley Barbrook, Nico Valentine, Gerrard Buabo (Jack Manly 35), Ash Boatswain (Afi Adebayo 59).

Photo: TWTD

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