Youth Alliance Cup Semi Final – Southern Section
Team: Wright, Harriman, Waters, Bailey, Olley, Ehmer, Doughty, Bewick, Nanetti, Fernandez, Cox.
Subs: Massih, Perring, Abdullah, Graham, Molloy
Joe Wright came in for the injured Niki-Lee Bulmer and Michael Harriman returned at right back. The sky was now overcast and the strong wind was to certainly have an effect on the game. Aaron Waters was booked early on for clipping one of their players just outside the box. There were few chances in the early stages as the players came to terms with the blustery conditions. On 12 minutes, Sam Bewick received the ball from Danny Fernandez, who looked like he was going to shoot but decided to take the ball wide to the bye-line and his lovely cross over was headed in by Elliott Cox.
The R’s almost doubled their lead after some great work by Danny Fernandez by the corner flag, which then saw him cut into the box and resulted in Christian Nanetti firing low at the target but the keeper kept the ball out with his legs. The Grecians equalised straight after though when a ball over Michael Harriman was picked up by their striker who then slotted the ball away. Rangers were then back in front when a Michael Doughty corner was headed into the net from close range by the lively Christian Nanetti. Half-time: 2-1
We thought Fernandez had scored the R’s third goal following Nanetti ‘s superb cross into the box. He got the ball into the net at the second attempt but the referee surprisingly disallowed the goal. We assume that he was adjudged to have handled the ball ? Minutes later Christian Nanetti was put through after a good move only to be up-ended by the keeper and the referee pointed to the spot. Nanetti insisted on taking it and his well struck penalty was saved by the keeper.
It has to be said that this was not the best team performance of the season and although chances were being created, the visitors were looking very dangerous with their well taken corner kicks. We began to think back to the previous round when the opposition scored at the death. Sure enough, a ball floated into the box was headed into the net with minutes remaining. More drama followed soon after when Exeter thought they had scored the winner following a corner. Another superb cross was headed in but thankfully the referee disallowed the goal, presumably for some pushing in the box ? Shortly after, the referee blew his whistle and it was to be another penalty shoot-out !
Once again the visitors took the first one and scored.
Sam Bewick then stepped up and put the ball away, 1-1
Exeter scored their second spot kick, 1-2
Michael Doughty then levelled, making it 2-2
The Grecians kept their noses in front with another well struck penalty, 2-3
Aaron Waters converted his penalty despite the keeper getting his hands to the ball, 3-3
The pressure was now back on Exeter as Joe Wright saved their next attempt, still 3-3
Up next was Christian Nanetti, no pressure after his earlier penalty miss, 4-3
The visitors then levelled the scores to make it 4-4 but there was still Danny Fernandez to come.
Danny made no mistake, 5-4 to the R’s and into the final.
Well done to Steve Gallen and the team on reaching the final for the second successive year. The Afternoon Mob also included Alan Barnes, Roger Stokes, Clive Kingham, Pat and Tom Harrison (who were on time), plus Ron Hill and Roy Clark etc. Also spotted in the vicinity was Steve Perryman. Thanks to Tom and Pat for the lift to Coningham Road.