Monday night away at Staveley Welfare Miners in the FA Youth Cup was the first competitive match for the boys. Being a U18s competition the 3rd years were not eligible to play, meaning a new look team came together. With minimal time and only a few short training sessions to prepare it was a monumental task for academy manager Alex Meechan to get the lads ready for the biggest game in academy history.
The FA youth cup is the biggest competition the lads have ever played in and the buzz in the group before the game was electric. All wanting to achieve and get through to that first qualifying round.
This match report has been collated from the views of the players themselves.
On a wet night in Staveley, BPA academy took on their biggest task yet, to reach the next round of the FA Youth Cup. Park Avenue came out in fiery spirits and quickly got themselves on the front foot. The midfield were dominant with the trio of Matthew Rowntree, Joe Leahy and Hassan Ali taking the game to Staveley. The first significant chance came when Tanvir Ali whipped the ball in from wide just zipping up and away from the outstretched Danny Bailey at the back post.
Park Avenue remained dominant with the Staveley keeper making a number of fantastic saves to keep his team in the game. Staveley were struggling to contain Park Avenues front three’s pace on and off the ball. This quick forward play meant full backs could get involved and it was full back Tom Conlon who was brought down inside the penalty area to give BPA the penalty.
Matthew Rowntree, who is now well know to first team fans after being involved in most of pre season, stepped up. Matty kept his cool and riffled the ball into the left hand corner of the goal. 1-0 Park Avenue.
After this Staveley seemed to wake up and the game became a lot more even. The centre back pairing of Adam Whitrick and Captain, Harry Holmes were heroic and until a few minutes before half time had kept out the Staveley attack. However, after a catalogue of errors in midfield and an a fumble at the back Staveley popped up with the equaliser.
Half time came soon after with Avenue knowing they needed to get back to the way they played in the first 30 minutes. This was not a game the lads were going to throw away easily and you could see that in the way they started the Second Half. They came out fighting ready to retain the lead.
It didn’t take long for Avenue to get back on top. Tom Conlon, who had the game of his life, popped up with a lovely curled shot off his weaker foot from the edge of the box. The net rippled and off he went to celebrate. Shame the celebration was not of the same calibre as his goal!
Centre forward Jordan Botwood who had not stopped running then came up with Avenue’s third. Picking it up in the channel and turning he then cut inside and bent the ball into the bottom corner of the net. It was celebration time for Park Avenue once again.
Staveley then had to come at Avenue, if they wanted to stay in the competition needing 3 quick goals. Avenue’s defence held tight though and with the pace up front meant they could counter on Staveley. After a fabulous header out of defence, Joe Ockerby picked the ball up on the left and was able to delivery into the box. Danny Bailey managed to readjust his feet and get up back heading the ball into the net mid jump. A great goal. 4-1 and Park Avenue looked set to be in the next round.
Credit to Staveley they never gave up and brought some great saves out of Avenue keeper George Widdop. They got their second through a corner routine. Park Avenue seemed to switch off and this left the hole open, in strolled a Staveley player who then had a tap in front post.
With ten minutes left it was a nervy affair but the Avenue lads rallied and defended as if their life’s depended on it. Their were crucial blocks made by both Adam Whitrick and Joe Leahy, with Harry Holmes making a perfectly timed last man tackle late on.
The final whistle came and they had done it. It was a tough game and the lads had given it their all. They wore the shirt with passion and it was a proud day for all involved.
The next round will be played at home during the week commencing 17thSeptember.