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Match Reports

Report: Cambridge United U18s 4-2 Stevenage U18s

1 November 2022

Jake Watkiss & Kymani Skyers score but it’s defeat for Stevenage in the First Round of the FA Youth Cup…

Boro’s Under 18s were drawn away at near neighbours Cambridge United in the First Round of this season’s FA Youth Cup. After reaching the Second-Round last season, the young Boro side were aiming to improve but knew The U’s were their first hurdle.

With three players born in 2006 and another four born in 2005, Professional Development Phase coach Ronnie Henry had named a young side ahead of tonight’s fixture. 16-year-old Ignas Sakalas took his place between the sticks, backing a defensive unit of Tyrique Tekesala, Owen Cochrane, Kymani Skyers and Harry Gilzean.

The midfield was made up of Eliott Champness, Sam Tinubu and Harry Giroud, behind a front free of David Hicks, Jake Watkiss and Theo Alexandrou.

Within the first quarter of an hour, Boro thought they had taken the lead. After latching onto a through ball inside the area, Theo Alexandrou proceeded to take the ball around the goalkeeper before placing into an empty net. A well taken finish, only for the disappointment of seeing a late flag raised by the linesman for offside.

Just over ten minutes later, Stevenage had another good chance to break the deadlock. A well-weighted through ball from Sam Tinubu found David Hicks who had broken the offside trap, forcing the Cambridge United stopper into a smart low save to his left.

As traditional between the two sides, it was beginning to turn into a slightly feisty affair. Both Sam Tinubu and the U’s Liam Chadwick picked up yellow cards on the half hour mark after a clash in the centre of the park.

The hosts had some half chances of their own, most notably McConnell’s effort over the bar, but were yet to test Sakalas in Boro’s goal.

At half-time the teams were goalless, but Boro had plenty of positives to take into the second period.

However, it would be the hosts starting the half brightest and taking the lead. Within seconds of the restart, Cambridge’s Lott curled a cross into the back post for Yearn to head past Sakalas into the net.

Five minutes later, the hosts’ Usman took advantage of a mix-up in Boro’s defence to fire into an empty net. Not the start to the half the young Stevenage side would have wanted, and now had a mountain to climb.

Despite the setback, these players were not planning on giving up just yet. After the introduction of Makise Evans just before the hour mark, the forward used his pace to beat his man and get to the byline, before drilling a low ball across the face of goal. A slight deflection took the ball into the path of Jake Watkiss, who calmly placed his effort into the bottom right corner to halve the deficit. Boro were back in this cup tie with around half an hour left to play.

Unfortunately, Stevenage couldn’t capitalise on their efforts in getting a goal back, when fifteen minutes later the hosts would regain their two-goal cushion – Jaydyn Lott this time heading in for the hosts. With ten minutes left to play, Cambridge made it four. Yearn netted his second of the game to put the game out of sight.

Kymani Skyers netted a late consolation goal for Stevenage in additional time, but it would be defeat for Stevenage in the First Round of this season’s FA Youth Cup.

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