Swindon Under 18’s 2-0 Newport Under 18’s


(Originally posted November 3rd 2011)

Paul Bodin’s Swindon Town under 18’s faced their Newport County counterparts on Tuesday night in the FA Youth Cup, knowing the winner would face Bournemouth away in the next round. Reports Benjamin Wills.

Swindon named a strong side with a few members of the line-up having first team and international experience at this level. The most notable being striker Miles Storey who has played five times for the senior team and central defender Aaron Oakley who is a Wales Under 19 International. Other notable names in the squad were recent first team understudy goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell, skipper midfielder Harry Grant and Louis Thompson, brother of Nathan.

The game started brightly with Town edging the match in an end to end start; however Paul Bodin’s young side could not force a shot on goal. Starlet striker Storey was lucky to avoid a caution after just three minutes with a very late challenge on Newport left midfielder Dan Compton, the ref only having a word with the young forward on this occasion, perhaps because it was so early in the game.

Early threats were mainly due to the mazy runs of midfielder Louis Thompson. His most notable coming 13 minutes in, dribbling round two players, nutmegging one and then avoiding a sliding challenge, however his low cross was cleared by the Newport defence.

After 18 minutes Swindon broke the deadlock. Good build up by the Swindon midfield found it’s way to striker Ben Whitehead who flicked the ball between the two Newport centre backs, the ball landed at Miles Storey’s feet who used his blistering pace to break away from the defence and then he slotted the ball low in off the post past the on-rushing ‘keeper to make it 1-0 Swindon.

The home side again came close two minutes later when Under 18 captain Harry Grant struck a weak volley wide of Matthew Swann’s near post. It took visitors Newport County 33 minutes to have their first shot on goal, and it should’ve been scored. A cross from the left wing was headed just wide by Myron Kahn when Bedwell had no chance.

The final two chances of the first half were both created by Swindon. One was a shot from Alex Ferguson from 20 yards that narrowly went past the post and just a minute later Storey hit a weak shot from the edge of the area straight at the Newport ‘keeper.

The second half kicked off with the away side making their first substitution of the match. Lewys Phillips coming on for Lewis Bansal.

The second half got off to a flying start after Swindon right back Luke Murden crossed and Miles Storey headed just wide. Swindon were then on the attack again when Latvian under 19 international Ben Whitehead turned and shot, his shot was easily saved however.

Bodin’s young side were now putting more and more pressure on the County goal hoping to finish the tie off. Captain Harry Grant was next to test Matthew Swann in the Newport goal but the midfielder’s shot curled straight into the ‘keeper’s arms.

On the hour mark Newport County’s manager made his second change as Daniel Reid was introduced in place of Josh Jones. However, this didn’t change much as Harry Grant was able to create yet another chance when his shot from the left hand side of the box was dragged wide. In hindsight he perhaps should’ve looked for the cross as Ben Whitehead was lurking dangerously around the six yard box with the goal gaping.

Swindon’s best chance of the game occurred with 25 minutes remaining when a cross by attacking right back Luke Murden was headed agonisingly wide by Ben Whitehead. This should’ve put Town 2-0 up and out of sight.

Swindon responded to that with Paul Bodin making two substitutions to try to secure the result. Mark Francis and Jake Simpson coming on for Eddie Stevens and Alex Ferguson respectively. Newport also made their final change as Nathan Williams replaced Myron Khan and proved to be very dangerous in the last 20 minutes.

As soon as these subs were made though Luke Murden hammered Swindon into a two goal lead after beating the Newport left back and smashing a shot into the back of the net that was too hot to handle for Swann. Swindon all but through to Round 2 now and deservedly so.

The last quarter of an hour was mainly Newport but there was a very small chance of them pulling level. In the 75th minute there was a handball appeal after Joe Chapman of Swindon blocked a shot the away fans were disappointed however as the ref decided there was no wrongdoing. County really came alive in the last 10 minutes when Williams was chopped down on the edge of the area, calling appeals for a penalty but just outside was the ref’s verdict. The taker then attempted a ‘Jamie O Hara’ style free kick, flicking the ball up and lashing it but it was deflected just over for a corner that came to nothing.

The next chance came six minutes from time when County no.15 Nathan Williams had a free header that was straight at Leigh Bedwell, who had a fairly quiet game. The final chance was yet another one for super sub Williams as the youngster lobbed Bedwell from the edge of the area, momentarily catching him off his line, but the ball went narrowly wide, much to the anguish of the small travelling Welsh support.

After a chilly but fiery night Swindon finished with a comfortable 2-0 win and will travel to AFC Bournemouth on the 19th of November hoping to secure a place in Round 3 and look to go at least one better than last season.

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