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4 November 2016

Academy manager, captain and match-winner reflect on FA Youth Cup win...

Stevenage's Under-18s battled their way into the FA Youth Cup second round last night with a 4-2 win (after extra-time) at Ware.

Reflecting on the game Academy Manager Robbie O’Keefe told us, “It was something new for the boys tonight. I don’t think they’ve experienced that kind of setup before where teams have sat so deep. We had to be very patient and at times they showed inexperience by trying to force the game. We’ve probably had 75%-80% possession and it’s very difficult to play teams like that as you’re always likely to get done with breaks and transitions.

“We stayed with one up for a long time, deliberately, because they were so deep. We wanted to try and play the ball through the thirds and we didn’t want to get more players congested. However as the game wore on, especially in extra time where the game got so stretched, that was the time to put two up front and fortunately it paid off with the two goals that Claudio scored.”

“It’d be great to get a home tie in the next round. It’d be nice for the boys to get a home game at The Lamex.”

Captain Zak Guerfi opened the scoring in the eighth minute and he said it was a game where they knew they’d have to wait for their chances.

“I thought in the first half we controlled the game, we knew what to expect from Ware and all credit to them as they gave us a good game," he explained. "They setup to catch us out and they let us have the ball. We come in at half-time and said we’re dominating possession, but it was one of those game where you’ve had to stay patient. Sometimes you can give it away and they’ll catch you on the counter and that’s how they got us for one of their goals. 

“We knew if it went to extra time we’d be the fitter and stronger side and we showed that togetherness in the final few minutes with those two goals. We’re glad to get through and I’m buzzing to be in the next round. We didn’t get a home draw last year so I definitely want a home draw. It’d be nice to get under the lights at The Lamex.”

Claudio Ofosu came off the bench to score both late goals and told us afterwards, “It feels good to score two goals but I don’t want to take credit for myself. The boys worked hard from minute one. My first goal was definitely the closest goal I’ve scored recently, then for the second I knew we needed to get that goal to kill the game off. I’m just happy I got through and scored for the team.”

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