Eight youngsters made their debut for our under-18s on Tuesday night as they beat Reading 6-1 at Hale End.
Our entire side was comprised of schoolboys after our involvement in the FA Youth Cup on Friday night - and there were some outstanding individual performances that will fill Ken Gillard with hope for next season.
Alex Kovacevic, Tino Quamina, Cameron Brayne, Mathaeus Roberts, Jimmy Gower and Aaron Benn were all handed their debuts at this level, while 14-year-olds Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly marked their first appearances with two stunning strikes.
Despite the lack of experience, we started the game full of confidence and eventually opened the scoring through Gower, who pressed from the front and forced a mistake from the keeper, who gifted him a simple tap-in.
Amani Richards then went on to maintain his fine goalscoring form, doubling our advantage on the stroke of half-time after winning a penalty and duly firing into the bottom corner.
Reading pulled one back following the restart with Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan converting from close range, but we restored our two-goal advantage less than five minutes later, as Benn provided the finishing touch to a well-worked team move, with substitute Amario Cozier-Duberry supplying the assist.
He wasn’t done there, though, and with our next sweeping attack, Benn pulled away from his marker down the right wing and charged towards goal, before coolly finding the far corner.
Our next goal was the pick of the bunch, as 14-year-old Nwaneri picked up the ball on the edge of the area and cut inside on to his left foot, before curling a stunning effort into the top corner.
But we weren’t done there with the debut goals, as Lewis-Skelly slalomed past three defenders and shifted the ball out from under his feet to fire past the keeper with a ferocious strike.
WHAT IT MEANS
Up next, we will face Aston Villa in the U-18 Premier League south on Saturday, May 8.
The game will take place at Hale End with kick-off at 12pm (UK time).
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