Young Glovers EPDP squad dominated Paulton Rovers with a 7-0 victory at Alvington in the South West Counties Youth League
The U18s returned to league action on Saturday, looking to remain unbeaten in 2022. Buoyed by a dramatic penalty shoot-out win in the National College Cup in midweek, the Young Glovers put in a commanding performance to see off Paulton Rovers in comprehensive fashion and climb to 5th in the table.
Head Coach Matt Percival was able to rotate the squad, welcoming back Max Dyer to slot in at centre back alongside Finlay Ridout. There was also a first home league start for Kory Retallick in midfield and Charlie Bateson was preferred to Joshua John in a very attack-minded line-up.
Yeovil began on the front foot and rarely let-up throughout. A great run and piece of skill from Benjani Jr set up Sam Hodges, who let fly from 20 yards only to see his shot cannon of the crossbar. The opening half hour saw Benjani Jr in the thick of the action, having a goal ruled out for offside before seeing his own shot from distance smash against the bar. He got his just rewards shortly after, when Mason Hunter played him in to coolly clip it past the keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Jake Graziano and Retallick were snapping into tackles and orchestrating play from midfield as Yeovil continued to turn the screw with a series of probing attacks. Skipper Graziano saw a free kick well saved and then had a low shot fizz narrowly wide following a well-worked short corner routine. Shortly before half time the home side grabbed a second when Benjani Jr set up Hodges for a smart finish to make it 2-0 at the break.
Yeovil came out early in the second half seeking to press home their advantage, but were guilty of being over-elaborate at times and wasteful in front of goal with Hunter spurning a great chance in the 55th minute when his rising shot blazed over. Percival sent on John for Retallick, looking to regain the attacking impetus, and the move kick-started a flurry of goals. Hunter grabbed a third with a calm finish after 60 minutes and then John made it 4-0 with a strong run and clinical strike into the top corner.
With the result now out of the question, Percival made further changes for the final 20 minutes. Robert Hollard came on in goal to replace Callum Smalley and Tamas Zold replaced Bateson. Benjani Jr, whose determined runs and attacking play were a menace throughout, grabbed his second goal with a low finish to make it 5-0.
Rio Mapletoft came on for Josh Sutton at left back as the game entered the final quarter. The goals kept coming as John cut in from the right to send a low shot into the bottom corner and then Mapletoft found himself free to slot home and seal a 7-0 win against a beleaguered Rovers defence.
The U18s will now switch their attention to possible inclusions in the upcoming Somerset Cup Quarter Final tie against Cheddar followed up by a tricky home league match against Bath City on Saturday.
Team: 1 – Callum Smalley, 2 – Callum Deemer, 3 – Josh Sutton, 5 – Finlay Ridout, 8 – Mason Hunter, 9 – Sam Hodges, 10 – Max Dyer, 11 – Benjani Junior Mwaruwari, 14 – Jake Graziano © 16 – Kory Retallick, 18 – Charlie Bateson Subs: 12 – Robert Hollard, 7 – Joshua John, 15 – Tamas Zold and 17 Rio Mapletoft
by Matt Partridge.