22nd August 2023

The Under 18s Elite Player Development Programme (EPDP) squad picked up their first win of the pre-season campaign after an impressive performance sealed a 2-0 win against Ilchester FC.

Following a narrow home defeat to Plymouth Argyle and draw away at AFC Bournemouth, manager Matt Percival rotated the squad and sent out a team comprising 10 first years and only 1 second year student as they took on local rivals Ilchester. Second half goals from Noah Collins and Jacob Brewer secured the deserved victory in a pleasing display.

The home side set up with a familiar 3-5-2 formation and produced a dominant first half performance following spells of good interplay and lots of possession. Striker Collins saw an early chance smothered by the onrushing keeper and Morgan Alexander, operating as a right sided wing back, had a shot well saved.

The visiting keeper was arguably the player of the half as he acrobatically tipped over long-range efforts from midfielders Nansimir Nanev and Leyton Westlake, before saving Mason Alden’s penalty midway through the half.

The home side were thwarted again when Joe Beckey saw a long-range drive repelled after a flying save from the Ilchester keeper

As the half drew to a close, the Young Glovers had to be on their guard as the visitors broke on a counter attack and drew a fine save from Callum Abbott to serve as a reminder that despite their dominance they would have to take care to protect the ball during periods of transition.

Charlie Travers came on in goal to start the second half for Yeovil Town and the home side immediately set about pressing for an opening goal, often threatening through wingbacks Alexander and Corey Koerner down the left.

Alexander saw a low shot well saved onto the post and Collins was also denied by another good stop from the Ilchester keeper.

The opening goal came on around the 55th minute mark when there was confusion in the Ilchester backline after another shot was saved onto the post. Striker Collins was quickest to react and prodded the ball home from 5 yards to make it 1-0.

After 60 minutes both sides made changes, with Devon Proctor, Jacob Brewer, Logan Moncrieff and Bobby Hilton introduced for the Young Glovers.

The next opportunity fell to the visitors who saw a stooping header sail over following a free kick from the left.

The home side got a deserved second goal in the 75th minute after a good move down the right presented Alexander with a chance to shoot. His shot was blocked, but Brewer stole in at the back post to grab an opportunist goal and leave the final score at 2-0.

It was good performance for this young side against a physical men’s team and there will be plenty of positives for Percival to take into the next match. The pre-season campaign continues with another home fixture on Saturday before the team enter the South West Counties Youth League with a home match against Bath City on September 2nd.

Team: 1 – Callum Abbott, 2 – Morgan Alexander, 3 – Corey Koerner, 5 – Josh Ansell, 6 – Sam Richards, 7 – Joe Beckey, 8 – Nansimir Nanev, 9 – Noah Collins, 10 – Mason Alden © 11 – Leyton Westlake and 14 – Fin Haste

Subs: 12 Charlie Travers, 15 – Devon Proctor, 16 – Jacob Brewer, 17 – Logan Moncrieff, 18 – Reece Strawbridge and 19 – Bobby Hilton.