Bridgwater Town Under 18's See Off Oxford City Under 18's in the FA Youth Cup
On a reasonably mild October evening Bridgwater Town ground staff again prepared a lovely surface for the FA Youth Cup tie against visitors Oxford City FC.
A fairly even start saw both sides measuring each other up and, pretty much, cancelled each other out for the first ten minutes.
As the half wore on the home side looked to guard against the visitors’ desire to switch the ball to the flanks and then themselves piece together the more constructive attacks.
Reed, Sandford, Mason, Manley and Wilkinson weighed up the Oxford threat when it bypassed the midfield where Byrne, Watts and Ham were more than a match for their counterparts, with O’Halloran, Coppin and McKenna teasing the visitors’ defence with their electric pace.
Both full backs looked to get the balance between holding fort and driving forward. Supporting the advances, Reed and Manley added that extra emphasis providing good moments for Coppin, Watts and O’Halloran.
Then the break through the team’s positive play earned. Winning a throw in Manley found O’Halloran who wriggled past his marker to cut the ball back across the goal mouth. Setting his feet quickly Watts shifted the ball away from the keeper’s position to put the ball in the net 1-0.
As the half continued the visitors showed some glimpse of good play, but again Sandford or Mason tidied up in front of Wilkinson. Before the interval it wouldn’t have been unjust to have been in a far greater lead, but some snap shots from McKenna and Watts, plus a sighting strike from O’Halloran, fizzed wide.
In the second period there was more of the same from the visitors but with a slightly greater urgency. For’ The Robins’ it wasn’t felt the need to alter too much; maintain our positive play, plus the consensus was Oxford would provide opportunities in pursuit of the equaliser. That was a little bit the case but a little neater and sharper work was required to finish the job.
With time ticking away a number of fresh legs were introduced, Scott and Purser again used their intelligence to seamlessly interface with their colleagues. The game was fairly even at this stage,
Oxford seemed unsure of throwing caution to the wind for the equaliser as the home side did enough to close the threats plus provided enough to keep the visitors honest.
A few free kicks from O’Halloran and Manley on other occasions could have been a touch crisper before good resilient defending led to a counter attack where Coppin surged forward and cleverly found Watts who capped off a good support run to calmly feint one side and slide the ball the other to finish the game off 2-0.
Plant was then brought on to go upfront and keep the Oxford back line under pressure as Town saw the game out in a mature and professional manner.
Man of the Match could have been a resilient defender or an advanced attacker, but Watts’ two goals along with some fine distribution edged the committee decision.
Well done to all those involved and thank you to everyone, parents, supporters, Football club and college staff who attended the evening.
Onto the next one!