South West Counties Youth League - Gary Else League Cup
7th March 2020
Bridgwater Town FC U18s 3 Vs 2 Wimborne FC U18s
LAST MINUTE GOAL SECURES BRIDGWATER'S PLACE IN THE NEXT ROUND OF THE CUP
The two games with Wimborne earlier this season were both close affairs with a single goal between the sides on both occasions.
A good number of people watching on a clear day saw a competitive start by both sides. However BTFC/Team BTC edged the positive moments and with some early territorial advantage Watts was released. Breaking free from the defence, he guided the ball neatly beyond the advancing keeper 1-0.
With both sides midfield matched up, skipper Byrne with Cottrill and Ham fought a keen contest to gain the upper hand. The rear guard of Chivers, Sandford, Manley, Durrant and Allen had to be alert as Wimborne’s tricky forwards posed a genuine threat. Purser, Scott and Watts carried a threat themselves which kept the visitors fully occupied.
With BTFC/Team BTC again edging the encounter they sprung from a defensive moment with Durrant driving up the line. Carrying the ball into a good position Durrant delivered a splendid pass behind the Wimborne defence that Scott pounced upon to steer the ball home for 2-0.
With other opportunities, BTFC/Team BTC perhaps should have built on their lead, but Wimborne dropped deeper to consolidate and thwarted efforts with a combination of good defending and off target efforts.
The visitors managed to get back into the game when a somewhat fortuitous free kick was awarded resulting in an effort blocked. However, the second ball wasn’t pressed quickly enough and the Wimborne player hit a strike past Allen for 2-1.
Within minutes, Sandford, still recovering from injury was replaced by Purser who dropped into defence with McKenna going on the flank. Using this change to adjust shape almost led to a third goal with Sullivan getting on the ball and from a sharp angle striking a post.
In the second period both teams again squared off, each set of players giving considerable amounts of effort.
BTFC/Team BTC found the visitors more difficult to break down, as they sat deeper filling in space to spring and counter. This was the case for the majority of the period as BTFC/Team BTC probed to find an opening, then faced quick counters to defend. Plant was introduced to give some fresh impetus as Durrant and Chivers maintained good support going forward.
The game seemed to be going the right way with BTFC/Team BTC defensive duties on point, with snap shots well contained by Allen. The Wimborne goal was now becoming more available as the away side had to risk more with time ebbing away. McKenna hit the cross bar with an audacious chip; Plant struck the side netting, with both Watts and Ham struck narrowly wide.
However Wimborne gained a corner and from the second phase, levelled the scores. It was a touch disappointing that the loose ball was watched and allowed to be put past the unsighted Allen unchallenged.
Disappointing, but credit to the visitors for taking their chance. BTFC/Team BTC players had a quick reset and got straight back to it.
The team have shown great character in a number of similar situations this season, and although Wimborne had drawn level BTFC/Team BTC were the side more actively looking for the winner which was not long in arriving.
A few attacks later, Wimborne conceded a corner. Byrne delivered a well flighted ball that Manley rose to meet and head powerfully home for 3-2 and cue team celebrations.
The remaining five to six minutes BTFC/Team BTC looked to control possession in the visitors third with some intelligent game management and skill.
Once again the younger players (seven were U16) contributed fully as they blended well with their more experienced colleagues. The whole side can now look forward to a final against either Bath City or Mangotsfield on a date and a venue yet to be confirmed
Huge thanks to Debbie Gould and Viv Curtis for taking numerous photos on the day and sharing with everyone.