Having started the season unbeaten, we travelled to Oldham Athletic on Saturday for the first round of the Youth Alliance League Cup. Knowing our opponents won the competition last season, we knew it would be a tough game.
The home side made a lively start and nearly took the lead in the 2nd minute when their shot bounced off the left-hand post into George Sykes-Kenworthy’s arms.
The opening minutes were end-to-end with both teams making their presence know, Danny Devine’s through ball found Reece Webb-Foster but his effort was well over the target.
We were awarded a free kick just outside the box on 14 minutes when Webb-Foster was brought down. Ellis Hudson’s kick found Xander McBurnie, but his effort was block and comfortably saved by the goal keeper.
Niah Payne came close on 20 minutes, Devine intercepted the ball in our half and good link-up play between him and Reece Webb-Foster set up Payne to have a chance at goal. Sumaili Cissa did well to pass two defenders on 24 minutes but unfortunately none of our players were there to convert his cross.
Oldham continued to apply pressure, they hit the left-hand post again on the half hour mark but the ball fortunately fell to Sykes-Kenworthy and they had two free kicks and a corner in the closing minutes of the first half.
Webb-Fosters strike on 40 minutes forced a save from the Oldham goalkeeper and we managed to take the lead a few minutes later. Good build up play from Devine saw Webb-Foster fouled just inside the box. Webb-Foster’s penalty was saved but he managed to find the net from the rebound.
Oldham were on top in the opening minutes of the second half. Webb-Foster managed to catch the ball on the bounce in the 50th minute but he didn’t make enough contact and the goalkeeper comfortably saved.
We had a good spell on 55 minutes. Hudson’s free kick was saved and Webb-Foster’s shot was tipped behind for a corner. Webb-Foster continued to threaten the Oldham goal, he fought off the defenders around him on the hour mark but his shot was saved, the rebound fell Devine whose strike hit the post and bounced off the goal keeper for a corner.
Despite the good play, Oldham had a goal ruled offside in the 68th minute and managed to find an equaliser minutes later.
Webb-Foster nearly made it 2-1 from the restart but his long range effort went over the bar. Substitute Curtis Peters took advantage when Oldham’s defender slipped in 76th minute. He passed the ball to Webb-Foster who had another attempt on goal. Cissa was brought down inside the box on 85 minutes but no penalty was given.
The home side took the lead and secured a passage in to the next round when they scored in the dying minutes. Our defenders failed to block their shot and it slowly crept into Sykes-Kenworthy’s goal.
Next week, we have a free week in the Youth Alliance League therefore, an U17/18s friendly v Liverpool FC has been arranged. (Liverpool Football Club Academy, The Liverpool Way, Liverpool, L33 7ED – 11am k/o)