Date: 7th November 2017
Selby FC VS Bradford County cup – 7.45pm KO
A gutsy display from an Avenue side predominantly consisting of Academy players was left unrewarded, as the side suffered an early exit in the West Riding County Cup at the hands of Selby Town. With the tie poised at 1-1 after ninety minutes, it took thirteen penalties to separate the teams and send Selby on their way to a quarter-final showdown with Halifax Town.
Mark Bower fully utilised the Academy talents at his disposal, calling five into the starting eleven and naming a bench comprised entirely of youngsters. Ross Boyle and Devon Ridley featured in the full-back positions, Jack Carter started on the right flank, and Bradley Oliver and Jordan Botwood lead the line. They were complemented in the starting eleven by a selection of senior players, that included stand-in skipper Matt Hill.
Avenue started strongly, spreading the ball around with relative comfort and eventually opening the scoring inside the opening ten minutes. Jamie Spencer’s marauding run resulted in a low-driven cross that young forward Bradley Oliver was on-hand to steer home, providing a neat and composed finish.
Despite a dream start, Ed Hall had to maintain his focus as Selby pressed for an equaliser with intensity that increased as the match went on. Former Avenue midfielder Charlie Clamp was the first to test the Avenue ‘keeper, forcing a strong palm away with a low drive from close-range.
Cameron Lyn was one of six senior players in the starting eleven, and was a danger to the Selby backline throughout. A mazy run allowed him to pull back to Oliver on the penalty spot, but the youngster couldn’t find either side of Paul Hagreen to double his tally.
Mark Bower’s faith in the young contingent showed in his reluctance to make any alterations at half-time, and even went on to introduce more Academy players after the break.
Selby started the second-half in similar fashion to how Avenue had the first – with pace, intensity and plenty of grit. Hall was forced to beat away a powerful effort from Liam Flanagan, just minutes after Sam Cable stung the ‘keeper’s hands with a driven long-range shot.
Lyn, however, continued to provide an outlet for Avenue, and earned a corner after a run that saw him burst past three Selby defenders. The resulting corner was cleared, but it served as a reminder to Selby as to the potential danger Avenue posed on the break.
Just two minutes after Matt Hill made a goal-line clearance to deny a Selby equaliser, young winger Carter found himself one-on-one with Hagreen, but couldn’t keep his effort down.
Carter soon turned provider, however, as he squared across the face of goal with Hagreen stranded, only to see Ryan Gothard edge ahead of Oliver and clear.
Despite Avenue’s opportunities to extend their lead, Selby continued to mount pressure upon Mark Bower’s side. Many home fans thought they were going to see an equaliser on 84 minutes, and would have done had Hall not scrambled across swiftly to tip Clamp’s curled effort wide of the post.
Selby’s pressure was, however, rewarded eventually as substitute Andrew Metcalfe delivered a late blow in the 89th minute, prodding home from close-range and sending the game straight to penalties.
In a tense shoot-out, Selby emerged the victors following misses from substitutes Ryan Sewell and Bobby Athey, which saw the home side advance in the competition despite Hall making a fantastic save from Gothard’s spot-kick.
Mark Bower commended the performances of the Academy players that featured, all of which demonstrated maturity beyond their years and proved their ability to compete at senior level.
Academy Manager, Alex Meechan was pleased to praise his academy players and how far the lads have come last night.
‘The lads involved showed a maturity in there performances and it was a
real positive and nice to have Mark show faith and utilise the academy lads and they did not let anyone down’.
The Academy programme is delivered in partnership with Grange Technology College with students undertaking A ‘Level or BTEC Sport qualifications along with playing for the academy and second year students commencing coaching qualifications.
The Academy are now in their second year with a recent year one cohort bringing the academy squad total of 27 players.
In closing comments, Terry Dolan, Director of Football, praised the performance of the academy players supported by senior players, Gaffer , the coaching team of Alex, Matty, Mick, Club physio, Tally, Grange Technology College staff who are helping these young academy players develop in the future.
‘The club wish to see these young players having a route into first team football in the future. We are committed to developing a strong football pyramid from juniors through to our academy programme which will continue to grow the success of the club.
Avenue penalty takers:
Matt Hill – SCORED
Adam Nowakowski – SCORED
Cameron Lyn – SCORED
Devon Ridley – SCORED
Ryan Sewell – MISSED
Bradley Oliver – SCORED
Ed Hall – SCORED
Bobby Athey – MISSED
Bradford Park Avenue: Hall, Boyle, Ridley, Spencer (Athey 72’), Nowakowski, Hill (c), Carter, Boshell (Sewell 61’), Oliver, Botwood, Lyn.
Unused subs: R. Hall, Stevens-Neale, J. Hall.
Selby Town: Hagreen, Pearse, Gothard (c), Foster-Vigors, Lock, Snaith (Metcalfe 65’), Snodin, Clamp (Lucas 84’), Woodhead (Bissett 65’), Flanagan, Cable.
Unused subs: Hullock, Simpson.