Stevenage U18s progressed into the third round of the FA Youth Cup and setup a home tie with Everton after a comfortable 6-0 win against Wealdstone tonight at The Lamex Stadium.
First half goals for Jamie Silvester, Jack Storer, Ben Kennedy and Ed Jackson saw Boro take a four-goal advantage into the break, with second half goals from Brandon Carney and Morgan Bruce sealing the win against their hard-working opponents.
After scoring within 90 seconds in Round 1, it took just two minutes for Stevenage to take the lead in this one with a classic piece of counter-attacking. Defending an early Wealdstone corner well, Boro broke with Nathan Kerr bursting down the right flank and playing the perfect cross between defence and ‘keeper for Silvester to fire home.
Bruce fired over but it wasn’t long until Stevenage doubled their advantage, when Storer was in the right place to coolly slam home after a cross from the left came in, clipped a defender and fell neatly into his path.
Silvester blasted just wide as Darren Sarll’s youngsters kept up the pressure but they were indebted to ‘keeper Tyler Reading for pulling off a superb 23rd minute save to not only block a shot but also pounce on the loose ball.
A third Stevenage goal promptly came a minute later when skipper Ben Kennedy slotted home from another swift counter-attack, with centre-back Ed Jackson then popping up to power home a header from a free-kick two minutes after that, as Boro ran riot.
Wealdstone kept plugging away but had little answer to the pace, power, slick passing and clinical finishing of the home players, particularly when on the counter.
Storer fired over, Silvester headed straight at the ‘keeper and Ross Millard somehow saw a header cleared off the line as Stevenage looked to increase their advantage before the break, but they were unable to do so.
After a scrappy start to the second half the game eventually burst into life once again, but this time in the Wealdstone final third. A poor back-pass by Boro was swiftly latched onto but there was Jackson with a superb recovering tackle to take the ball cleanly and clear the danger.
Brandon Carney came on for the hard-wording Silvester on the hour and set about increasing his FA Youth Cup tally after scoring twice against Needham Market. He was denied on 67 minutes by the ‘keeper but two minutes later swept home a right-wing cross from the excellent George Casey to make it five.
Sub ‘keeper Keval Patel – on for the injured Tyler Reading – had to be alert to keep his side’s clean sheet intact with 18 minutes remaining, tipping a looping header onto the bar as Wealdstone pushed for a consolation. Minutes later the ‘keeper began what was nearly the perfect counter-attack, finding Kennedy on the half-way line with a searching ball. The midfielder fed sub Robbie Sweeney down the left who beat his man and delivered the perfect cross only for Storer to nod inches wide. It would have been a goal of the highest quality had the ball gone the other side of the post!
Morgan Bruce, industrious in the middle of the park all game, wrapped up the scoring with a late sixth from inside the box to confirm the win in an entertaining game and set up a third round tie at home to Everton in the coming month.
Stevenage: Reading (Patel 61); Kerr, Jones, Jackson, Botaka (Sweeney 46); Bruce, Kennedy; Storer, Casey, Millard; Sylvestre (Carney 60)
Subs not used: Yamfam, Guerfi
Wealdstone: McNicholas, Christie, Kinoshi, George, McDonnell, Stacey, Smith (Wells 75), Muksa (Martin 53), Maja, Kamara (Spinks 53), Hill
Subs not used: De Lauri, Lee