Bishop’s Cleeve under 18’s side powered in to the next round of the FA Youth Cup with an emphatic away win over their local rivals, Cheltenham Saracens, at Petersfield Park, writes Richard Joyce.
And it was a Cleeve dominated first half that set the young Villagers outfit on their way with tall front man Jack Watts threatening the Saracens goal for the first time ten minutes in when his floated effort dropped just wide of the post.
It didn’t take long though for Cleeve to open the scoring as Deco Chick, who featured for the Cleeve first team in a recent Southern League Cup fixture, managed to squeeze in a close range effort after poor Saracens defending let the Cleeve number nine march through.
Watts, a former member of the Saracens youth team himself, was at it again two minutes later when his long range effort was easily gathered but eventually he found the back of the net for his first and Cleeve’s second as he hammered in a superb half volley just inside the box.
Chick was then back in action with two close chances. The first saw the striker drag wide after connecting with a long ball and then after robbing Saracens right back Liam Powell of the ball, his powerfully struck effort was padded away by the home sides goalkeeper.
It wasn’t until the 36th minute when the home side managed their first effort on goal which was brilliantly stopped by Cleeve goalkeeper Tom Lennox as the Saracens headed for goal.
Unlike the first half the second half saw the home side kick off the quickest and Lennox was again called upon to make a number of early saves including a fantastic one handed tip around the corner of the post.
Saracens got their best chance yet however to find the back of the net on the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty which they fired in to launch their plans of a comeback.
It was not to be however as the visitors determination to hold on to their dominant lead saw the home side struggle to break down a strong Cleeve defence and midfield.
And with five minutes to go Cleeve managed to tie up a great victory when in the 85th minute the referee once again pointed to the spot to award a penalty kick, this time in Cleeve’s favour, and midfield marshal, Adam Mace, stepped up to brilliantly fire in to make it 4-1 to the visitors.
A final minute strike after a superbly timed Mace through ball ended proceedings to hand Bishop’s Cleeve a home tie against either Poole Town or Moneyfields in the next round.
Star Man: Adam Mace (Bishop’s Cleeve) – captained and drove his team forward to prove why despite having just started in under 18’s football he has already earned playing time with the Bishop’s Cleeve first team.