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U18s in Semi-Finals After Thrashing French Side
Thursday, 28th Jul 2022 08:49 by Jude Gale

U18s advance after comfortable win over French opponents Town U18s qualified for the SuperCupNI semi-finals after thrashing French outfit Vendée 4-1 on Wednesday evening in Limavady.

The young Blues, who drew 1-1 with County Fermanagh on Tuesday having beaten US side San Francisco Glens 2-0 in their opening match on Monday, won their third and final game of the group stages thanks to goals from Finley Barbrook, Ash Boatswain (pictured) and a brace from Jack Manly.

Vendee pulled a goal back in the last 10 minutes of the game, but Town’s ruthless finishing in front of goal beforehand ensured that this was nothing but a consolation for their opposition.

Ipswich came out of the blocks fuelled with energy and threatened straightaway after Nico Valentine’s run and cross found Finley Barbrook in the box whose shot was pulled just wide.

However, the game unfortunately came to a halt within the first five minutes after a collision resulted in right-back Seth O’Neill, who has enjoyed an outstanding tournament, falling to the ground with a leg injury, requiring Nick Nkansa-Dwamena to replace him.

As the game approached the 20-minute mark, excellent work down the left from Afi Adebayo won the Blues a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Set-piece specialist Jack Manly whipped a beauty of a cross which caused a huge scramble in the middle of the box before the Vendée defence eventually cleared the danger.

Town were in complete control of the game and their pressure resulted in the first goal of the game in the 28th minute.

Valentine picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch, turned his marker, and then played in Afi Adebayo down the left who then excellently dribbled past two French defenders before cutting the ball back to Finley Barbrook, who this time made no mistake in slotting the ball home.

Ipswich doubled their advantage just five minutes after their first. Manly pounced onto a loose ball at the edge of the box and fired a first-time thunderbolt into the roof of the net, leaving the opposition goalkeeper with no chance.

Vendée began to look a threat in the final third in 10 minutes of added-on time, however, Finn Steele and Calum Logan were first to every ball at the back, winning their aerial and ground duels with keeper Woody Williamson having a quiet first half.

In the fifth minute of additional time, Valentine won Town their third penalty in three days as he beat the defender to a through ball before being tripped in the box.

As in Tuesday’s game against Co Fermanagh, Manly stepped up and placed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net for his third goal of the tournament.

The French side started the second half determined to somehow find a way back into the match.

One long ball was well placed in behind the Ipswich backline, but Williamson was alert to the danger and expertly rushed out of his box to clear with his head.

In the opening 15 minutes of the second half, Williamson was again involved, but this time in the build-up for Town’s fourth as he quickly fired a low ball out to Harry Barbrook who carried the ball forward and then found his twin brother Finley in the middle of the park. Finley turned and set Adebayo’s run down the left who then excellently slid the ball back across goal to Boatswain to finish into an empty goal.

The Tractor Boys continued to dominate possession with Paul Moodie and Finley Barbrook controlling the midfield.

Town’s defence remained solid and left a frustrated Vendée without a sniff in front of goal. A deserved clean sheet looked likely as the match headed into the final eight minutes, but this was lost as French winger Paul Mickael Tirand pressed well and blocked Williamson’s clearance, leaving an empty goal for him to tap the ball into.

The impressive win for Town ensured qualification for the semi-finals of the Premier Section of the SuperCupNI, formerly known as the Milk Cup, where they will play Mexican side Club Puebla on Thursday evening in Seahaven, Portstewart with a place in this year’s final up for grabs.

U18s: Woody Williamson, Seth O’Neill (Nick Nkansa-Dwamena 5), Finn Steele (Logan Dobbs 44), Calum Logan, Harry Barbrook, Paul Moodie, Finley Barbrook, Jack Manly (Alex Graham 44), Nico Valentine, Ash Boatswain (Revin Domi 54), Afi Adebayo.

Photo: TWTD

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Razor added 09:57 - Jul 28
Well done lads great work-----would be great to nab our first trophy of the season so soon!!

runningout added 10:46 - Jul 28
Nice one. 4:1 Not a thrashing in my book though

PhilTWTD added 12:05 - Jul 28

I reckon it counts, particularly as it as a 70-minute match!

allezlesbleus added 19:04 - Jul 28
Allez Les Bleus!

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