Youth Alliance Cup Quarter Final – Southern Section
Team: Bulmer, Cox, Bailey, Ehmer, Waters, Olley, Sutherland, Doughty, Nanetti, Molloy, Sterling.
Subs: Parmenter, Perring, Bewick, Abdellah, Henry-Smith.
Earlier in the week the U18’s had an emphatic 4-0 victory at Harlington over Barnet with goals from Sterling (2), Nanetti and Ehmer. Michael Harriman had picked up an injury so Elliott Cox filled in at right back. The match kicked off at 11am so Pat and Tom Harrison only missed around the first 15 minutes or so.
Rangers went close early on when a Frankie Sutherland corner was headed just wide of the post by Christian Nanetti. He was in action again soon after when he persevered and evaded a couple of strong tackles but his shot was deflected for a corner. The R’s were dominating the early stages and creating chances. Sterling cut in from the left but his shot was saved and he then had another effort stopped by the keeper as he raced through. Brighton had their first real attack around 20 minutes into the game and it was left to Frankie Sutherland to stick his foot out to clear the danger. A couple of minutes before the half-time whistle, the visitors burst forward and a ball in from the left was struck only just wide of the post. Half-time: 0-0.
Raheem Sterling was receiving a lot of attention from the opposition. At times he had two defenders to contend with and on some occasions even three of them homed in on him ! He crossed the ball over to Nanetti which he didn’t head full-on and went wide of the post. Frankie Sutherland’s free kick from 10 yards outside the box, dipped just over the bar. At the other end, a Brighton effort was clipped just over the bar.
The R’s took the lead after 55 minutes when another cross from Sterling was fumbled by the keeper as it bounced just in front of him and Javonne Molloy was on hand to scramble the ball into the net. The Seagulls almost equalised soon after when Bulmer was rounded and Luke Olley did well to clear off the line. Normal service was resumed and Rangers were soon back on top again. A shot from Sterling in the box was scrambled over for a corner. Sterling again, and in space, belted one but he hit it straight at the keeper.
A fantastic block by Sutherland which then found Nanetti , who shot just past the post. Sam Bewick replaced Nanetti, Elliott Cox moved up to right wing and Frankie Sutherland took up the right back spot. Sterling bombed down the left wing, beat two players which resulted in Bewick’s shot hitting the post. Marcel Henry-Smith (we thought his surname was Henry-Francis ?) looked like he was going to be introduced but didn’t get on in the end. The visitors equalised something like 3 or 4 minutes into added time when the Brighton player got past Sutherland and then drove the ball into the right-hand corner. Seconds later the referee finally blew his whistle. We thought there was going to be extra time but as the players lined up on the half-way line, we realised that the drama of a penalty shoot-out was looming.
Brighton got the drama under-way and scored the first one.
Sam Bewick stepped up and converted his so all square.
Bulmer then saved their second penalty.
Frankie Sutherland got our noses in front by scoring his so 2-1.
The visitors made no mistake with their next one, 2-2.
Aaron Waters kept up the pressure by scoring his spot kick, 3-2 to the R’s.
Niki-Lee Bulmer then saved another one, so still 3-2.
Poor old Javonne Molloy put the ball on the spot and as he stepped back the Referee walked over and ordered him to re-position it and added with the arrival of a helicopter almost overhead, his shot was saved.
Brighton kept their hopes alive by scoring their next one.
It was then left to Raheem Sterling to coolly finish off the drama by sending their keeper the wrong way.
Well done everyone.The Saturday Morning Mob also included Alan Barnes, Robbie Bennett, Roger Stokes plus Pat and Tom Harrison. Thanks to Roger for dropping off Alan, Robbie and myself by the ground.