Our Under 18 Boys made it through the first qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup with a hard fought victory over Hereford Pegasus at Market Drayton Town on Wednesday night.
Under the new management of Ben Sohier, the Bucks headed into the unknown playing a side they knew very little about but also hoping to improve on the last 2 seasons where the side exited at the first hurdle of the cup on both occasions.
It was the home side that started the strongest as both sides looked to get a foothold in the game. On 5 minutes they did just that in spectacular fashion.
Good work from Brodie McLeod through the middle opened up space on the left side for left back Bailey Winchurch to strike one first time from the apex of the box into the top corner, leaving the visiting keeper with no chance.
Just 3 minutes later, Jack Sheward in the Telford goal maintained his sides lead with a great save from a 1v1 opportunity. Despite the goal it was the away side who settled into their game much quicker but they had to be aware of the threat out wide posed by Calvin Smith and Tom Messham. It was indeed Messham who was involved in the next key moment of the game.
Midway through the first half it was 2-0 with McLeod once again the architect. His driving run down the right ended with a cut back to Messham who wriggled past his marker to fire past the keeper.
Just 3 minutes later the deficit was reduced in bizarre fashion as a clearance hit Gabriel in the face playing in the Hereford striker who managed to nudge the ball past the onrushing Sheward. The scores could have been level shortly after as a free header struck the outside of the post but the young Bucks held firm going into the break.
HALF TIME: AFC Telford 2 Hereford Pegasus 1
Second half began and the two goal cushion was restored just 3 minutes in as more great work out wide found Callum Knowles in some space in the box. His first time finish from 8 yards found the bottom corner to put the home side in control.
Despite the two goal cushion, it was a cagey second half with very few chances of note, the away side just shading it in terms of possessions but neither sides keeper forced into a save. It was Hereford who gave themselves a lifeline on 83 minutes when a cross into the back post found the unmarked striker who volleyed home.
The game was set for a nervy final 10 minutes but the Bucks held firm and kept the Pegasus forward line at bay to progress into the next qualifying round where they travel to face Racing Club Warwick.
FULL TIME: AFC Telford 3 Hereford Pegasus 2
Line Up: Sheward, Madeley, Winchurch, Gabriel, Parker, Muir, Smith (Afful), Messham, McLeod (Davies), Corinaldi (Bailey-Perrin), Knowles
Reaction from the dugout:
Head Coach Ben Sohier reflects on Wednesdays performance, “We’re very happy to come out on top of what was a very tight game. Cup games are all about winning and we did that. It wasn’t the perfect performance by any means, but we have to factor in that it was their first ever competitive game as a group. I’m proud of the boys. This is just the start, we must continue to improve and kick on from here”.