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Sep 05

FA Youth Cup: Cheltenham Saracens u18s 1 – 2 Bath City u18s

Saracens count themselves very unlucky they didn’t win this encounter
against the full-time students of Bath City. Saracens dominated for
large parts of the game and were left to rue early conceded goals in
the first half.

Bath City scored in the first five minutes when a cross to the far post
was headed down to the unmarked City midfielder who scored from close
range. This conceded goal though galvanised Saracens and led on
superbly by Capt Scott Gourley & defender Jake Ellmore, Saracens set
about restoring parity with City. Saracens welcomed back Oli Plant &
Joel Phillips to the squad, 16 year old Joe Mahon made his first start
and although missing the attacking flair of Kurtis Burrows who is
suspended, named their strongest possible side for the first time this
season. Saracens nearly equalised when Brad Barnard outpaced his City
Marker and smashed a hard shot just wide of the near post. Saracens
then had multiple corners, for which their set pieces from these
corners was causing alarms in the City defence. From one of these
corners a far post header by Ellmore was sent back across goal to the
unmarked, but stretching Mat Shermon, he couldn’t though divert his
header down onto goal from five yards out. This miss was costly as City
then broke wide on the left and fully exposed the space down on
Saracens left hand side, the City forward sprinted clear and shot
across keeper James Andrews into the far bottom corner. When heads
could have went down, the Saracens team was showing much determination,
took the game back to City and went hell bent on getting a goal back
before half time. Barnard’s strong running was an outlet for Saracens
but also probing runs by Ballinger and Gourley created chances which
Saracens went on to regret missing.

HT: 0-2

In the second half Saracens made two changes with Jack Kelly partnering
Barnard upfront and Joel Phillips replacing Rayhen Meah in midfield,
this gave Saracens more choices and for the next 40mins camped
themselves in the City area. In the 50th minute a good phase of play
involving Ballinger, Isher and Hill resulted in a strong Kelly shot
which was tipped over by the City keeper. From the resulting corner a
Shermon header was cleared off the line. Ellmore then struck a
ferocious shot that flew just over. With the changes to their midfield
squad for this game, this gave Saracens more pace and strength,
Saracens dominating their counter parts and contested for every ball
when required. Isher was showing he was back to his best from his long
term injury, and looked sharp and mobile throughout. With Saracens
pushing into attack at every Opportunity City looked to counter attack,
but for excellent defending by young 16year old Mat Shermon and Seb
Minchew kept the score down & with City knowing another goal would
settle this matter the game went to end to end. With time running out,
Saracens scored and gave themselves hope of taking this game into extra-
time. A superb Saracens move playing out from their defence, a five man
pass and move, phase of play involving Gourley, Ashley Hill, Barnard,
Kelly & Ballinger resulted in Ballinger holding off his marker and
slotting in at the second attempt. With minutes remaining Saracens went
direct but ran out of time. A superb match for an FA Youth Cup
game.

FT: 1-2

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