The U18’s progressed to the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup, thanks to a thrilling 6-4 win over Lewes in an outstanding First Qualifying Round tie on Wednesday night.
With both sides unbeaten this season, the odds on an excellent tie were high, and despite the weather conditions it did not disappoint, the only shame was the sparcity of the crowd, but given the conditions it wasn’t surprising. Having said that, for those in attendance it was probably the best game they will see this season.
After a tight opening, the game exploded into life on 25 minutes when neat work led to Roman Burrell firing us ahead. It was a short lived lead as Lewes levelled within minutes with a neat header from a well delivered wide free kick.
Clearly buoyed by levelling the scores, Lewes piled on the pressure, and we came under quite an aerial bombardment, but our backline held firm, and we regained the lead ten minutes from the break when deadball specialist Matt Feeney-Hill, fresh from more first team minutes at the weekend (picture in first team kit above), curled home a delightful free kick for 2-1.
Once again we were unable to hold the lead, and by the time our tweeter had tweeted our lead, Lewes had levelled things up again with another neat finish.
Five minutes from the break and the visitors hit the front for the first time. This time another well executed free kick that gave Lewes a 3-2 lead going into the half time break.
We pushed for an equaliser in the early stages of the second half, whilst still having to be at our best to prevent Lewes from increasing their lead.
With 25 minutes to go, the game exploded into another goalscoring frenzy. On 65 minutes we drew level at 3-3, with Feeney-Hill notching his second of the night thanks to a slightly deflected dipping effort that cannoned in off the crossbar.
And Feeney-Hill completed his hat-trick on 73 minutes firing us 4-3 ahead. Once again though we were unable to hold onto the lead. A ball into our area wasn’t dealt with and in our desperation to clear a Lewes player was felled, and they levelled things at 4-4 from the resultant spot kick.
Don’t blink or you will miss it, and with ten minutes to go and the pendulum swung back in our favour as Feeney-Hill notched his fourth from the spot to put us 5-4 ahead.
This time though we held the lead, and with a couple of minutes remaining we increased our lead, becoming the first side to have a two goal advantage in the game, when a moment of individual brilliance by Fate Kotey gave us a 6-4 lead and a place in the next round.
Whatever the draw throws up, try and get to watch the lads, they really play some excellent football and deserve our support.