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YOUNGSTERS DEFEATED IN FA YOUTH CUP

25 November 2015

After a battling performance, County's youngsters are defeated at Rodney Parade by Southend United...

County's U18's got off to the best possible start, with Connah Hughes managing to control a cross played into the area, before firing a powerful shot past 'keeper Joshua Bexon, to open the scoring.

The visitors enjoyed a great deal of possession during the first-half, but didn't manage to mount any threatening chances on the County goal. The County defensive unit looked organised, marshalled by captain Liam Angel.

The Exiles had a great deal of joy utilising the pace of Cedrick Matando down the right-wing, with the forward being the catalyst of many attacking County movements.

Just prior to the half-time break the County defence was tested when a dangerous cross was played into the area and had to be scrambled clear, with Norman Pitoula Wabo lurking inside the six-yard box.

County made a change during the break, with Cedrick Matando being replaced by Rhys Kavanagh.

Fifteen year-old 'keeper Ben Davies was forced into action early during the second period, producing a fine save to push a shot from Reneilwe Batlokwa away from danger.

The visitors found the equaliser in the 67th minute, when Batlokwa played a ball in behind the County back-four which found Norman Pitloula Wabo, who finished calmly into the corner of the net. 

Neither side found any opportunity to score a late winner and the ninety minutes finished with the score remaining 1-1, and the tie progressed to thirty minutes of extra-time.

Early into the extra-time 'keeper Rhys Davies was forced to tip a looping shot by Damani Dias over the frame of the goal, just as the ball looked to be creeping underneath the crossbar.

The County goalkeeper was soon involved in the action again, producing a point blank save to deny Pitoula Wabo from scoring, after County missed several opportunities to clear a cross into their area.

As the first-half of extra-time drew to a close, the visitors were awarded a penalty, when Rhys Davies advanced off his line to claim a loose ball and was deemed to have bought down Elvis Bwomono. Harry Phillips stepped up to take the penalty, hitting a side footed effort into the bottom left corner of net, which Rhys Davies managed to get a slight hand to. 

The final period of extra-time didn't see any great threat to either goal, as the County youngsters couldn't break down the resolute Southend United defence and weren't able to a second goal to take the tie to penalties.

FINAL SCORE: Newport County 1 - 2 Southend United 

Speaking after the game, Academy Director, Grant Kalahar, said, "The boys stuck to the game plan we set them for this evening, and for the majority of the ninety minutes it worked."

"We limited Southend to a handful of chances and we were very unfortunate to concede a penalty during extra-time, as I felt that we could have been awarded a penalty ourselves." 

"To go out of the competition in such tough circumstances is hard on the players, but they were a credit to their club this this evening, and we can take this experience into Football League Youth Alliance games in the near future".

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