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/ Young Blues Exit FA Youth Cup
Young Blues Exit FA Youth Cup
Margate's U18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup as Jay Stubberfield's side slipped to a harsh 3-1 defeat at the hands of Welling at Park View Road.
Match Report by Ant Coombes
The Young Blues had high hopes going into this game, and with only Lewis Doyle and Seth Crabbe unavailable, Stubberfield had a near full squad at his disposal. Jardell Conteh made a welcome return following a head injury, whilst there was a recall up front for Kunle Bakare.
Welling had clearly done their homework as the pressed and harried the Gate youngsters throughout. A strong, physical side, and they executed their game plan from the off. As Margate continued to play their passing game, they were not given a moment's peace on the ball - as the hosts relied on forcing inevitable errors.
The Wings' game plan was not without it's risks, and - as the challenges came in - free kicks were inevitable, but Gate were unable to capitalise on the numerous set pieces they were awarded in dangerous areas. Free kicks, corners, and throw ins came in numbers, but largely due to the sheer size of the home defence, crosses into the box were proving unrewarding and Gate then relied on short passes in and around the box but they were not finding the opportunities to shoot easy to come by.
The first quarter of the game was an incredibly tight affair, Margate were edging it in terms of possession and territorial advantage, but Sid Warden's free kicks - normally a radar for the head of Jack Bray, were unrewarding. Bray did have the ball in the net in the 23rd minute, but the whistle had long gone for an infringement.
The first real chance of note came in the 25th minute, as the blues broke with pace. Henry Ikeije released Bakare who raced clear but was denied by the home 'keeper, rushing off his line and saving at feet. This followed a sustained spell of Margate pressure, with Warden denied by a last minute block after finding himself some space inside the box, and Harvey Killick just missing the target when played in by Warden. Having clipped the ball over the onrushing 'keeper, Killick appealed for a spot kick as the ball rolled across the face of goal, but the referee was having none of it. Warden then fired over, before an astonishing passage of play which somehow left the deadlock intact.
Firstly, Lewis Mitchell made a fine one on one save at one end, before Margate went straight up the other and forced his opposite number into one of his own. The corner which followed then saw rare success in the home box, only for the header to loop marginally over the bar.
Margate were made to pay for their misfortune in front of goal by a real sucker punch just 4 minutes from the end of the half. A free kick was awarded 35 yards from goal on the right byline. With everybody expecting an outswinging cross, Jack Raines took the kick which deceived everyone and nestled in the bottom corner of Mitchell's net. Only Raines will know if he meant it - the position of the kick and the end result were certainly reminiscent of Ronaldinho v England in World Cup '02 - and the Brazilian will never claim anything other than intent for that one!
HALF TIME: Welling U18 1-0 Margate U18
Any hopes Gate had of turning the tie around were dashed in 3 minutes at the start of the second half. As Margate came out on the front foot, Bakare forcing a corner, they were undone on the break from this with a long clearance finding Ollie Milton who raced clear and drove the ball low past Mitchell. Two minutes later, it was Ethan Grant fired low into the net to stun the visitors, who had not conceded a goal in this tournament until just before half time - yet found themselves 3-0 down just four minutes after the restart.
Just a minute later, Henry Ikeije's cross from the touchline landed on the bar, but this was the last goalmouth action for a while after a sensational start to the half. The endeavour continued for the visitors, but Welling were more than happy to soak up the pressure and preserve their lead. The next effort of note didn't come until the 68th minute, and it was Mitchell who was forced into a fine save, throwing himself low to his right to tip Tom Hever's effort wide for a corner.
As the game entered it's final 10 minutes, The Gate U18s were clearly determined to get some form of consolation from the game. In the 81st minute, substitute Tom Webster was played clear down the right hand side, his cut back was only cleared as far as Jack Bray, who pulled his effort wide from 25 yards. Bray then launched a throw into the box which caused chaos in the goalmouth but would not fall kindly for a blue shirt. Webster then went close himself as his lob was well tipped away by the Wings' number one. With 5 minutes to go, Killick surged down the right and his cross was blocked, only for the ensuing corner to be cleared.
The goal finally came in stoppage time, and it was the very least they deserved for their endeavours. Ikeije did superbly to get away from two challenges by the right hand corner flag, powering his way along the touchline before feeding WARDEN who doesn't miss those opportunities.
The final whistle went shortly afterwards, and Stubberfield's boys were clearly dejected having put so much into the game and dominated for large periods. They will play a lot worse than this and win throughout the course of this season and will rightly look back - not just on this game, but on the cup run as a whole - with a huge amount of pride.
FULL TIME: Welling U18 3-1 Margate U18
Starting Line Up: Lewis Mitchell, Harvey Killick, Tyler Dockwray, Jack Fenton, Jack Bray, Oliver Baker, Sid Warden, Harrison Hume, Kunle Bakare, Henry Ikeije, Jardell Conteh
Subs: Riley Mallon, Ziyad Ghali, Luca Nwansike, Thomas Webster, Josh Richards
Goal: Henry Ikeije (90)
Wednesday, 01 November 2017
By Ryan Day