Forest Green Rovers U18s have progressed to the FA Youth Cup 1st Round after a 2 – 0 victory over Salisbury City U18s in their latest qualifying match. Through the strong association between Forest Green Rovers and Hartpury College, the College’s Junior Academy U18s have access to this prestigious competition.
In the previous qualifying rounds Rovers had beaten Merthyr Tydfil FC 2 – 1 (aet), Tiverton town 5 – 2 (aet) and Clevedon Town 2 – 1. On Monday 18 October they defeated Salisbury City U18s in their most complete performance of the competition so far. Goal Keeper Jack Darnbrough was not required to make a save of note until late in the 2nd half when he tipped a free kick onto the bar and away, although he handled crosses and swept behind his defence confidently throughout. Unable to effectively break through the hard working Rovers central midfield of James Pearson and Fred Humphries, Salisbury resorted to long balls aimed towards their strikers. Rovers centre half Jamie Dunn won every challenge, particularly in the air, with the combative Tom Kay tidying up any second ball.
Once possession had been won Rovers sprung attacks of their own down both flanks. Oliver Pitt almost opening the scoring with a swivel and shot that hit the inside of one post and then the other, finally landing in the grateful goal keepers arms. Rovers first goal was the result of a great move down the right wing; the unfortunate Salisbury defender diverting a powerful Jack Stevens cross into his own goal under pressure from Jack Wood and Greg Rutsch. Half-time 1-0.
Under extreme pressure in the 2nd half Rovers conceded a series of free-kicks in dangerous areas. Dunn and were Kay prominent in defence with support from Humphries anchoring the mid-field. Rovers held firm and mounted counter attacks of their own. The 2nd goal came on 75 minutes with such a break down the right; Wood cleverly laying the ball for Rutsch to cross for Pitt who guided the ball home with this head from close range. Final score 2 – 0. The FA Youth Cup 1st Round draw has been made and the Rovers Under 18 squad will host local rivals Swindon Town U18′s at the New Lawn. This tie is likely to be played on Monday 1st November with a 7.45pm kick off.