The Exiles defeat Sholing F.C 4-2 on penalties to progress to the next round of the FA Youth Cup…
County’s youngsters started off the liveliest, with right-back Nathan Mathias looking to get forward at every opportunity and was a constant outlet for The Exiles, making overlapping runs down the right-wing.
It was the right-back who had the first genuine chance on goal, teeing up a long-range effort that just climbed narrowly over the crossbar, inside the first ten minutes.
The attacking duo of Cedrick Matondo and Connah Hughes were linking up well, with Cedrick glancing a long-ball forward into the path of Connah, who connected cleanly with his strike but was unable to his effort down.
With first-team coach Michael Flynn in attendance, County struggled to break down a stubborn Sholing defence. Rhys Kavanagh made a winding run from deep and managed to find space to shoot from the edge of the area, but his effort bounced wide of the post.
Halfway through the second-half fifteen-year-old goalkeeper Rhys Davies was forced into making a magnificent save from a free-kick, diving to his right to tip the ball over the crossbar to prevent the hosts from taking the lead.
In the thirty-minutes of extra-time County had their best chance to break the deadlock. A skilful run down the left wing by Cedrick Matondo, allowed him the space to deliver a weighted pass into the six-yard area that found Connah Hughes, who attempted to fire the ball home but his effort was blocked.
Academy goalkeeping coach Mykee Jenkins was casting a watchful eye over Rhys Davies as the penalty shoot-out got under way and the goalkeeper didn’t disappoint, with a magnificent display to help County to a 4-2 victory in the penalty shoot-out.
After the game Academy coach, Byron Anthony, said “It is nice to be in the next round. We weren’t happy with the performance by a long stretch, but the FA Cup is the FA Cup, whether it is the Youth team or the senior team.”
“Sholing F.C put on a good performance tonight. They sat in there, they dug deep and they were hard to break down. When we did get in good areas we were wasteful in possession”.
“We are disappointed in the way we played, but we stuck in there and the mentality and the attitude of the boys was fantastic”.
“Our goalkeeper tonight (Rhys Davies), is a young lad coming through and he put on a great performance tonight, he has made a great save from a free-kick and gone on to save a penalty”.
“We were wasteful in possession, but we will take this into the next round and concentrate on our game against Cardiff Metropolitan on Sunday”.
The Exiles will now face Southend United at home in the next round, with a date being confirmed in the near future.