Stevenage U18s progressed to the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup for the sixth straight season, thanks to a 5-1 win over Brentwood Town...
It was all second year scholars who got on the scoresheet, as Jack Smith, Liam Smyth (3) and Drilon Krasniqi all found the net to seal victory at The Lamex Stadium, setting up a Second Round tie at home to Peterborough on Thursday 21st November.
Stevenage were big favourites heading into the tie but it became clear early on that Boro wouldn’t have it all their own way. A swift breakaway by the Blues almost resulted in the opener after just a few minutes, but for the Brentwood player fluffing his lines when faced with the chance to score.
Liam Smyth, who came into the match in a ridiculous run of goalscoring form came the width of the post away from making it 1-0 on 10 minutes, as he looked to sweep home from 12 yards out.
Brentwood continued to have their opportunities early on though and twice had chances to strike soon after, both times the opposition attackers unable to hit the target.
Then, captain Jack Smith showed his class and why he has been pushing for a First Team place this season with a supreme hit from the edge of the box, giving the Brentwood goalkeeper Jamie Kiddell no chance as his effort hit the top corner to make it 1-0.
Neither team created much for the proceeding 15 minutes but as the half began to draw to a close, Boro’s youngsters began to step up their game to another level. On 34 minutes, Moriarty drew a brilliant save from Brentwood’s Kiddell with a curling effort that seemed destined for the top corner, before Luis Fernandez saw a header cleared off the line.
Just as it looked like the visitors would escape to the dressing room with just a one goal deficit, Smyth scores his 10th goal inside his last three games with a thumping strike from 18 yards out that dipped and swerved, leaving Kiddell no chance.
It was all Stevenage in the second half as superior quality and fitness levels appeared to tell. Before 60 minutes, Townsend-West came close at the near-post from a corner, Yasin Arai fired wide and Jack Moriarty saw a double chance denied as his header and then follow-up effort were both brilliantly saved by Brentwood’s Kiddle.
Smyth was in the mood for more and had two efforts from the edge of the box soon after, the first one flashing wide of the goal before his second was beaten away. All second half substitutes were made before the 70th minute as Finlay Johnson, Alfie Williams and Jack Wilson were replaced by Drilon Krasniqi, Lewis Lynn and Max Granville.
After a half of much frustration, the goals began to flow with 15 minutes remaining, as Smyth grabbed his second and third of the contest, sandwiched between a Leon Aliu consolation for Brentwood. Then, with seconds remaining, Drilon Krasniqi made it five to add further gloss to the scoreline.
It was a convincing performance from Boro’s U18s as a home tie against Peterborough United awaits back at The Lamex Stadium on Thursday 21st November at 7pm.
Starting XI: Aitken, Dreyer, Townsend-West, Smith, Fernandez, Wilson, Arai, Moriarty, Smyth, Johnson, Williams.
Subs: Smith, Lynn, Krasniqi, Granville, Halpin, Bugyei-Kei, Mahoney