U19s clinch tense victory

Smith and Taylor-Randle on target in impressive victory for our U19s….

Academy and U23 player Tom Smith

Harriers took a crucial three points in a must-win National League U19 Alliance clash, writes Elliot Ball.

With the sides so equally matched near the top of the table, it was always going to be a tense affair.

In the first half, both sides were starved of chances and it looked like it was going to need something special to break the deadlock. As it was, a penalty did the job – Jaiden White was brought down inside the box and Reiss Taylor-Randle stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and fire the ball in the opposite corner.

The game remained tight, but Chasetown were presented with a golden opportunity to draw level just before the break. It looked as though an attacker would be able to pounce on a loose ball at the back post, but the chance went begging as it was poked just wide.

After a quiet first half, the second period began in far livelier fashion and, two minutes after the kick off, Harriers found themselves 2-0 up. Tom Smith made a brilliant run and was picked out by White before taking a great touch and finishing calmly.

“…as professional team performance, I think it was the best of the season…” Ryan Simmonds

The remainder of the encounter remained a tight affair, but it would have been fair to say Harriers created the better chances. Mid-way through the second half, Taylor-Randle played Stratford through who was unlucky to see his clever dink over the keeper drift just over the bar.

Frustration grew for the away side and the closing stages of the match began to get scrappy. With five minutes to go a Chasetown player saw red when the referee gave him his marching orders for kicking out at a Harriers player.

Harriers coach, Ryan Simmonds summed up his thoughts following his side’s victory, saying: “We got a good early goal from Reiss and the play up to the goal was brilliant.

“I’ve just said to the boys; as professional team performance, I think it was the best of the season.

“We’re trying to make these boys ready for first-team football. If they can handle this kind of environment then when they get the call from the first team manager then, hopefully, they’re ready.”

Goalscorer Smith added: “After losing the last couple of weeks I think it was important to bounce back and show we can do it; we can switch it on and play the way that we do.

“There’s four games to go, I think there’s three next week so everyone’s going to have to chip in and do their part.”

This article is about: Academy, Education, Youth


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