The Berks & Bucks FA U18’s travelled to Manchester FA on the weekend looking to get to the FA County Youth Cup Semi Final for a second successive season, but came up against a very strong Manchester FA side, who ran out eventual 4-2 winners in what was an excellent game of football.
Manchester FA got off to a flying start with Berks & Bucks goalkeeper Sony Wheeler called into early action, making a fine save from a close range effort in the first few minutes. Manchester’s attacking presence didn’t stop in the opening minutes, as they soon found themselves ahead in the first 15 minutes with a well worked goal making it 1-0. Manchester FA put a lot of pressure on Berks & Bucks, hitting the crossbar and calling Sonny Wheeler into action again, however it was Berks & Bucks who found the net next, bringing them level with a stunning 25-yard curling strike into the top corner from Eddie Lee.
The remainder of the first half was a lively end to end affair, in what was becoming an enthralling game with neither side gaining control, but it was Manchester FA who were next to find the net and they took the lead again tucking the ball into the bottom right corner from a breakaway, making it 2-1 just before the half-time whistle.
After a great first half, both teams still had a lot of work to do in the second half to secure their place into the semi-finals. Berks & Bucks immediately put the pressure on with Bradley Farren coming close from a header and Manchester FA’s goalkeeper pulling off a vital save from James Henry. However, Manchester FA came back into the game, with Wheeler being called into action again with a superb fingertip stop, but Manchester FA’s attacking pressure payed off, as they made it 3-1. Manchester FA then continued to dominate, soon earning a three-goal cushion after another fine save from Wheeler, the following shot being deflected in from a the last ditch clearance, making it 4-1 just a few minutes later.
Berks & Bucks FA continued to fight until the end, putting more and more pressure on with chances coming for the tireless Farren, Josh Harris and substitute Harrison Cliff, before James Henry slotted home from a fine counter attack to set up an exciting last 10 minutes. Berks & Bucks poured forward and almost nicked another one to really put pressure on the hosts but despite the late onslaught they just couldn’t find the breakthrough.
Berks & Bucks FA manager Aaron Steadman said: “I couldn’t be prouder of the boys. They fought to the very end against a very strong team, and were never really out of it, despite the scoreline. They’ve represented the county superbly, not just in the 90 minutes but over the whole weekend. This is a young team, with great potential, so we’ll be back next season.”
View photos from the match