The Young Glovers hang on for a 2-1 win over Bath City courtesy of a Mason Alden double in their ‘World Cup’ style opening group match in the Gary Else Memorial Cup.
Yeovil Town U18s took a break from league action at the weekend and entertained an unbeaten Bath City in the cup. With several squad members featuring for the first team in the Somerset Premier Cup in midweek, the mood was buoyant and both teams signalled their intent to play an attacking brand of football from the off.
Following a couple of half chances at either end it was Yeovil who took the lead on around the 15th minute mark when Benjani Jr was able to set-up Mason Alden who sent an audacious chip into the top corner, 1-0.
The Glovers were playing some exciting football and Benjani Jr pulled a left footed shot narrowly wide following a clever knockdown from Finlay Skiverton. Both teams were using their full backs to good effect and skipper Ollie Haste made a great break and run up the left-hand side before being crowded out at the crucial moment. Many of Bath City’s best chances were coming from dead-ball opportunities, but the young pairing of Max Dyer and Aidan Skiverton held firm under pressure.
Yeovil continued to press as the half wore on but were soon to be denied the services of striker Skiverton who was withdrawn on around the half hour mark with a serious looking injury. Having scored in midweek on his first team debut, the young striker was clearly disappointed to be leaving the field.
The midfield unit of Jake Graziano, Korey Andrews and recent Portuguese signing Pedro Borges were putting in a dominant first half performance and Yeovil extended their lead shortly before half time when the visiting keeper punched clear under pressure from Borges only to see Alden fire a shot from the edge of the box into the same top corner as his first goal, 2-0.
At the start of the second half Yeovil picked up where they left off and following some fine interplay up the right side with Callum Deemer, Borges was denied by a last-ditch tackle. Alden then had a chance to complete his hat-trick after a good run and pass from Andrews but saw his shot easily saved.
The final 25 minutes saw the expected reaction from Bath City as they pressed for a way back into the tie. Team Manager Mark Challen would have been concerned by the loss of composure and panic amongst the ranks as mistakes started to creep into the home side’s game and the bookings started to rack up. City got a deserved goal back with around twenty minutes to play after Yeovil lost possession in their own half and the striker made no mistake with a crisp finish in off the post, 2-1.
Bath pressed for an equaliser with several free kick opportunities and Smalley was then called into action twice in the final ten minutes, saving smartly at his near post on both occasions.
The Glovers were able to hold on for the win and will have plenty of positives to take from a commanding first sixty-five minutes; a brace from schoolboy and ex-academy starlet Alden and a confident display from their schoolboy centre back pairing being of particular note.
The eight South West Youth League teams will form two groups of four as they battle it out for the Gary Else Cup 2021/22. Drawn against Bath City, Bridgwater United and New College Swindon, the Glovers will be hoping to finish in the top two in order to progress to the semi-finals later in the year.
Yeovil return to league action next Saturday, October 2nd, with a trip to face Swindon Supermarine.
Any talented Year 11 footballers interested in joining the YTFC Youth Program should contact Team Manager Mark Challen via email at MChallen@YTFC.net
Report by Matt Partridge