Youth Alliance home campaign opens with a win
As Gawthorpe welcomed the YA for a new season we followed up our opening day win with a 1-0 victory versus Tranmere.
While last week we had a number of U-16 in our match squad, today we had a full complement of scholars to select from. We lined up on the immaculate middle pitch, pristine and firm despite the soggy surrounds of Gawthorpe. The starting XI mirrored the Fleetwood game with the exception of the heart of defence where Ollie Younger replaced U-16 Markell Foulds. On the bench Nashé Chakwana and James Clarke were named, while again, the balance matched the subs against the Cod Army.
We had an excellent chance 5 minutes in as Tunde Bayode smartly turned his man and clipped a cross over. The keeper called but was way off and RJ Pingling hung out a leg and diverted an effort just wide of the empty net. Bayode again created an opening shortly after with his blistering pace getting him past his full back to cross for Tommy Wood, but the big forward was blocked off.
While we had much of the possession we created little else in the opening exchanges. Tranmere could have snatched the lead with a break as our defence was turned, but Scott Wilson recovered well and blocked the shot and cleared the danger.
We hit the woodwork for the 1st time with around 35 on the clock. Nice interplay on the left ended with Dwight McNeil putting in a low cross for Pingling. The forward looked to have missed his opportunity but opened up more space and hit a shot across the keeper, hitting the inside of the post.
Before the end of the half we had a penalty appeal turned down as Tyler Shrimpton was felled in the box but the ref inexplicably decided that a non-existent advantage was a better option. McNeil also hit the bar with a delicious chipped shot as the clock wound down and we ended the half level, where we really should have had more than one on the board.
We started the 2nd half with a lovely passing move that ended with Bayode finding the keepers gloves with a shot from the outside of his boot. Unfortunately, that was it for 20 minutes as Tranmere hit their straps and dominated the ball for a significant period of time. During this time McNeil was replaced by Chakwana and it was the little forward that had our next chance as Pingling played him and he saw a shot from an angle blocked behind.
Around halfway through the half we won a corner and Bayode took it from the left, curling it in with his right boot. Wilson rose and nodded it down to Chakwana who had his back to goal. He controlled smartly and swivelled on the spot to fire home and give us a lead that, on the balance of the game, was deserved.
Tranmere had their best chance after they had fallen behind. Another quick break had us at sixes and sevens at the back. The ball was squared from the left to an advancing midfielder but his shot was bravely blocked by Younger, who flung himself in Ben Mee-esque fashion to prevent a certain goal.
A later corner for us showed that our YT also like to use the 1st team stepover routine as it almost paid dividends with a Pingling shot blocked on the line. Late changes saw Clarke and Tristan Jumeau replace Pingling and a hobbling Wilson, but with little else occurring of note, we saw the game out and claimed another 3 points.
Team:- Connor king, Billy Grogan, Waz Mpofu, Scott Wilson (James Clarke), Ollie Younger, Mark Howarth, Tyler Shrimpton, Tunde Bayode, Dwight McNeil (Nashé Chakwana), Tommy Wood, RJ Pingling (Tristan Jumeau).
Subs not use:- Marcel Wusiewicz, Leighton Egan.