14th November 2022

by Matt Partridge

Yeovil Town U18s had to settle for a point in their opening ‘World Cup’ style group match, as they took on a much-improved BRS Coaching U18s side at Alvington.

The 6-0 thrashing from just a month ago seemed a distant memory and despite goals from Mason Hunter and a penalty from Jake Graziano, the home side were indebted to a man of the match performance from keeper Rob Hollard to preserve the point. 

The Young Glovers set up in a familiar 3-5-2 formation, with Ethan O’Sullivan returning from injury to line up at right wing-back. Mason Alden got the nod in midfield with the absent Sam Hodges involved in the final stages of the English College FA National Trials. 

The opening exchanges saw Alex Stevens narrowly fail to get on the end of an Alden free-kick before Hollard was called upon early to parry a BRS shot to safety. As the half wore on, a growing number of errors in possession put the Young Glovers under increasing pressure as the visitors shrugged off the league result and set about playing some attractive football. 

Yeovil Town improved as the half wore on and Alden had a shot from 25 yards well saved and leading goal-scorer Charlie Bateson saw his effort drift narrowly wide. A corner and resulting header from defender Jacob Shore then led to a goal-mouth scramble as BRS Coaching struggled to clear their lines. 

The home pressure finally paid off when Mason Hunter took it upon himself to cut inside and unleash a shot from distance which found the back of the net, 1-0. 

BRS were almost immediately back in the game as Hollard was called upon to produce an excellent double save to preserve the half time lead. 

Within minutes of the restart, BRS fashioned an equaliser with a well-worked goal coming after some fine interplay down the right, 1-1. The home side were then forced into a change in attack, with Josh Haskett coming on for Alex Stevens who left nursing an injury. 

Haskett had a chance to give the Young Glovers the lead after picking up a neat through ball from Hunter, but he saw his low shot well saved. Mikey Archibald then came on to replace Josh Sutton as Head Coach Matt Percival altered the system and O’Sullivan, now occupying a left-side position, then saw another opportunity blocked.

BRS snatched a goal in the 70th minute when a through ball evaded Harrison Foster in defence and a swift cross fell to the feet of the advancing striker who side-footed home to make it 1-2. 

With a shock on the cards, the home side quickly regrouped and were given an immediate opportunity to equalise when BRS were adjudged to have handled in the box. Skipper Graziano stepped up to slot the penalty low to the keeper’s right to make it 2-2. 

Both teams stepped on the gas in the final quarter and Ryan Price and Nathan Hart were sent on from the bench for the home side. Alden saw a lobbed shot head narrowly over with the keeper stranded and Hollard pulled off a fantastic reaction save after a well-worked move from BRS. 

In the final minutes Hollard was in the thick of the action once more and received a booking after clattering into the striker on the edge of the box. With the resulting free kick coming to nothing the full-time whistle sounded leaving both teams facing something of an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stage. 

Yeovil return to South West Counties league action next weekend with a trip to Gloucestershire to face Mangotsfield United on Saturday 19th November (10:30am). 

Team: 1 – Rob Hollard, 2 – Ethan O’Sullivan, 3 – Josh Sutton, 5 – Jacob Shore, 6 – Harrison Foster, 7 – Jake Graziano ©, 8 – Mason Alden, 9 – Charlie Bateson, 10 – Mason Hunter, 11 – Alex Stevens and 14 – Max Dyer Subs: 15 – Mikey Archibald, 16 – Harry Evans, 17 – Ryan Price, 18 – Josh Haskett and 19 Nathan Hart