Coach/Manager Mo Hopkins' report on an excellent win for our 18's on Saturday.
South West Counties Youth League Saturday 7th September
BTFC/Team BTC u18's 3 Torquay United 1
The opening game of the South West Counties Youth League for Team BTC/BTFC U18 saw Torquay United visit Bridgwater & Taunton College - Bridgwater Campus.
Both teams started brightly with the teams feeling through the initial ten minutes before the home side started edging the control with Watts, Ham & Cottrill linking with Scott, Purser & Coppin. Reed & Durrant gave good width as Mason & Kruszynski provided an astute platform in front of Wilkinson. The home side edged proceedings between the visitors defending well, Coppin, Purser, Scott & Ham had opportunities but finishes were thwarted.
The momentum was building with good team attacks and well managed defending leading to Torquay conceding a number of corners. One of these corners brought about the opener, Purser providing for Watts who received and swivelled in one movement striking cleanly past the visiting keeper 1-0. Taking the lead the opportunity to change some personnel, the home side brought on Plant plus Mahdy to provide fresh legs with a few minor adjustments. This didn’t quite provide the initial intent so McKenna was brought in on the flank and Fitzpatrick for Coppin to nurse a neck strain.
At half time the only home side change was Wilkinson (who showed good form) coming off for Smalley as pre-agreed game time for the goalkeepers was followed. Then as expected in the second half the visitors altered their approach and shuffled a few players’ positions. This led to their best period where they committed more players through the centre and posed more problems as some rash passes gifted possession to readily to the visitors. During this period a few free kicks were conceded from marking the wrong side, but again the defensive line of Reed, Durrant, Kruszynski, Mason and Smalley provided a sound base. However one of the free kicks led to a crucial lapse in focus from players turning their back and Torquay taking a quick delivery which the visiting player guided past Smalley with a neat header. 1-1 This brought about the reintroduction of Coppin & Purser whose touch more experience provided the emphasis for control to start swinging back to the home side.
Coppin’s willingness to work the spaces plus secure the ball and Purser decision making soon added to the hard work displayed throughout the side. With Cottrill cycling the ball and exchanging with Watts, McKenna occupying his marker.. Ham broke through on two occasions with well-timed runs. Both runs on another day would have brought goals, but Weeks in the Torquay goal made fine saves. Having turned the momentum around Weeks was brought into action again, Coppin from a near post effort and Purser agonisingly just wide. However the pressure eventually paid off as Watts working off the good team play picked up the ball, jinked between two players to rifle a sweet strike beyond Weeks 2-1.
Scott now returned into a more central role to provide energy and guile with Reed replacing Mahdy at full back. With a well managed approach the home team went from moving the ball keeping the visitors chasing play and a conscious eye on speculative balls forward when an attack was turned over. Good numbers getting after the ball plus managing the back line kept this well in check before the game was polished off. Watts who gave a man of the match performance released McKenna with a splendid pass that McKenna had read receiving beyond his marker to expertly chip the ball over weeks and give a more realistic scoreline to the contest 3-1.
A rewarding game for Team BTC/BTFC and a reflection on having the better periods and moments in the game.
Next up is Salisbury FC at home on Saturday 14th September KO 10:30pm. This is then followed (interestingly!) with a trip to 'The Creek' to face Bristol Manor Farm in the First Qualifying Round of the prestigious FA Youth Cup on Tuesday 17th September.
More details will appear in the coming days.