The Young Robins progress in the Cup
South West Counties Youth League
Saturday 26th October 2019
Gary Else League Cup
Bridgwater Town FC u18’s 3 2 Mangotsfield Utd U18s
The Gary Else’s cup brought the two teams sitting top of the South West Counties Youth League together.
Team BTC/BTFC whose squad was their youngest ever fielded with six U16 players and three players having debuts! Mangotsfield United/SGS the current league & Cup winners. Both teams were undefeated this season and very much respectful of one and other.
With Team BTC/BTFC the group are very much a product of setting a good environment for each other, plus new players coming in treated with respect but expected to measure up quickly allowing performances to be positive.
The Bridgwater & Taunton College has proactively (with their partners) provided a number of players experience up to Southern League Premier, ensuring each opportunity fits in with the students and college’s needs. The Saturday side benefits from a constant approach and ensuring the players regardless of age have a good attitude and high level of commitment which at present has allowed players to dovetail in retaining good performances.
Mangotsfield (South Gloucestershire & Stroud College) have set good standards since David Hockaday took over, and always provide high calibre, strong opposition - Saturday was no exception.
The game was high paced with both sides having different formations in pursuit of an edge in proceedings. Some slight adjustments by Team BTC/BTFC countered the Mangotsfield wide threats and maintained a front foot approach in appropriate areas.
The visitors’ attackers caused some sharp work from Chivers, Purser, Kruszynski and Reed, who playing together for the first time looked comfortable due to good communication and appreciation.
Chivers another player from the District & Somerset Schools partnership that has seen some talented players continue their development with Bridgwater & Taunton College.
The opening goal came from some good work from back to front that found Coppin on the half turn. With Byrne and Ham occupying part of the defence Harry Scott timed his run to perfection as Coppin delivered a well-placed pass invitingly into Scott’s path to head home 1-0.
Edging the contest Team BTC unfortunately lost Harry Purser to a groin injury and brought on Lloyd for his debut, as Reed moved central alongside Kruszynski. Not deterred the side scored another on twenty minutes as Byrne picked out Coppin who finished superbly from a narrow angle 2-0.
The visitors weren’t fully under control but being contained by Watts, Cottrill, Ham, Scott and Byrne. So it was a little surprising to concede from a cross that looked manageable, however the big number nine got his head to it and guided it past Wilkinson who almost kept it out 2-1. Before the break opportunities for Team BTC/BTFC Byrne and Coppin could have really put the visitors in a real catch up, but Byrne effort was saved and Coppin’s narrowly wide.
In the second period Allen took up position in goal and Scott was moved to left back - adding a touch more aerial awareness as the visitors looked to find their number nine and ten. McKenna went into the advanced position as competition resumed.
Mangotsfield were a touch harder to break down this period as they sat two midfielder screening the home team’s central build up play and providing two pivots in possession for them. Brown was also brought on for Team BTC/BTFC to get his debut, which at U16 and not having trained with the team a gamble but the management felt could be done during this period.
There was then a twenty minutes period that the visitors edged the balance of play, but it took a deflected strike on 75 minutes to beat Allen, who has recovered fully from a broken finger. 2-2.
With a few tired legs Todd Watts was moved from midfield to replace Chivers whose debut was a very positive one, and Ham switched roles with Cottrill to regain the balance of play through the centre.
This had the desired effect as Byrne for Watts and Cottrill jinked and twisted the two screening midfielders and Ham got to grips with the strong number eleven.
Byrne and Cottrill started to get some joy resulting in free kicks where Mangotsfield mid-timed challenges. With time ticking away, one of these free kicks led to the winner.
Cottrill delivered a ball into the box where Coppin, McKenna and Byrne were being blocked and pushed such that the blocking of their own players impeded the Mangotsfield goalkeeper’s view and the ball crossed the line with both Coppin and Cottrill claiming the finish. 3-2.
With a couple of minutes remaining Team BTC/BTFC took full control as the visitors were pinned back from the reshuffle of personnel.
At the final whistle it was a result that the home side earned through good approach play, controlled defending and a group of players who keep plugging away throughout the game.
Man of the Match could have gone to Scott or Coppin, but Noah Kruszynski adapted to having two different partners in the game and managed to come out on top in his dual with the visiting striker.