Awesome u14s Juniors run Alvis close in a dramatic semi-final shootout.
By Andrew Parsons
It’s fair to say Bedworth United Juniors u14s have had a tough season in the A league, not having a single point during the campaign, but oddly a very good team in cup!
2nd Place and A league title contenders Alvis Juniors must have rubbed their hands when drawn against BUFC in the semi-final, but little did they know how hard they’d have to play and luck to favor them to progress!
Juniors squad was under pressure at 8am this morning after Goalkeeper, Centre halve and right back all out of the fixture. Manager Ben Thackeray opted for the lively Harris to drop into right back, he favored the height of Luke Routhe at Centre halve to try and match the 6ft 2in height of the big Alvis striker, and as always the dependable Barnett would drop in between the sticks. Young Dalvin made a rare start out wide left after a string of solid sub appearances, along with Smithy back up top to capitalize on his fearsome right foot.
The game started with earlier pressure from Alvis - as expected - but once nervous had settled, BUFC found a way of frustrating the title contenders. It’s fair to say Juniors had mentally turned up and Alvis had to work extremely hard to create space. Ex BUFC striker and Leicester academy bound Mason Platt was a real threat for Alvis during the first half, but the ever impressive Kielan Thackeray matched his work rate and largely nullified any glaring opportunities. Routhe was also a busy lad early doors with the big Avis striker looking to win cheap headers for knock downs but he remained strong throughout frustrating the big man.
BUFC had a string of corners during the first 35mins, but it was Billy Lally who nearly put United 1 up when his fierce striker from 20 yards crept millimeters over the bar with the keeper scrabbling.
As luck would have it, it would be a routine clearance – on the stroke of half time - from the Alvis keeper who managed to put in an inviting ball in behind the Juniors defense and just when you thought the opportunity had gone Platts turned and got a lucky deflection rolling into the bottom left hand corner.
The second half started with United pressing with intent searching for an equalizer. A game changing moment came when substitute Patrick Brown raced onto a ball from Billy Lally deep inside the Alvis box, cut inside two defenders who then both upended him, the ref gave it a few seconds and awarded the penalty. Harrison Smith stepped up and dispatched without issue…BUFC were firmly back in the game.
Both teams gave their all competing for everything, it was a great game to watch, but as the game was drawing to a close, it would be Mason Platts who wiggled his way free to calmly slide the ball home for 2-1. Although time was running out, Juniors quickly grabbed the ball and opted for a quick a restart. It was this quick thinking which gave the lads hope and believe, and with 2 mins to go, Patrick Brown picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box took aim and fired home. The ball hit the underside of the bar and BUFC Juniors - bottom of the A league - were now back in the hunt for a cup final place against the best footballing team in the league.
The game eventually finished 2-2 with Penalties now deciding who would play Sphinx or Khalsa in the cup final.
• Harrison up first, scores
• Alvis score
• Parsons up second, scores
• Alvis miss, great save from Barnett
• Thackeray up third, missed striking the inside of the post with power.
• Alvis score
• Nathan up forth and scores.
• Alvis score – 3-3
• Patrick up fifth, misses with the keep making a great save to his right.
• Alvis score winning 4-3 and go to the final.
Despite losing a spot in the final, every single BUFC Juniors u14s player was truly brilliant. We hope that the standard set today gives the lads believe that they can go on and get vital points to avoid relegation in the coming months.
Good luck to Alvis in the final