10:31PM, Saturday 21 December 2019
Oxford United Academy 1, Maidenhead United u18s 0
Maidenhead United’s u18’s side bowed out of the FA Youth Cup at the third round stage last night (Friday) after a narrow defeat to the academy team of League 1 side Oxford United.
It's the second successive season in which Christian Parker and Ivan Harper’s young side have reached this stage of the competition.
Having seen off Boreham Wood, Cray Wanderers, Kingstonian and Ware to reach the third round, the Magpies were confident of causing an upset in this tie.
Maidenhead suffered a significant blow however when Borkovic was forced to withdraw inside the opening ten minutes and the home side had the better of the first half opportunities, with Tyler Goodhram testing Fred Chapman with a low drive in the opening minutes before Reece Smith tested Max Evans in the home goal from a free-kick after Jack Gibson was fouled at the end of a strong run.
Gibson and Fabio Lopes then exchanged efforts wide of goal before the clearest chance of the half fell to the Young U’s; Chapman got down well to block a clear sight of goal for Callum Crook at the far post. The half ended with Michael Elechi’s marauding run and shot off target for Oxford but the Young Magpies were holding their own.
Maidenhead will argue that they had the better of the second half chances. Barely a minute into the second period Reece Smith was put away down the left and the tricky winger crashed a shot against Evans’ near post.
Minutes later Maidenhead gave the home side another huge scare when a presentable chance came Gibson’s way but his effort was hit straight at Evans. Firstly Leon Chambers-Parilion and then Crooks flashed headers wide for the U’s whilst at the other end Tommy Boyd took aim from range for Maidenhead and his effort just cleared the crossbar with Evans backpedalling.
The game-breaking goal came with a little over 10 minutes remaining. Maidenhead were perhaps guilty of over-playing deep in their own half and Oxford regained possession which ended with the impressive Lopes firing low into the corner for the winner.
The home side controlled the remainder of the game thereafter and Chapman pulled off a save to deny Goodhram making it what would have been a very harsh two goal margin.
Joint-manager Parker was rightly proud of his players: “I am immensely proud of the effort, determination and character that the boys showed. Yes it is disappointing to lose in the way that we did, given that for large parts of the second half we were the better team and had the clearer chances in front of goal.
"The discipline we showed all game to keep our shape and limit a professional Academy side to long range efforts throughout the game shows how far this young talented side has come over the last 12 months. It is great to have reached this stage of the competition for two years running, the boys should be proud of what they have achieved and hopefully they will remember nights like this.
"It should give them the appetite to want to perform on a stage like this as they progress in their footballing careers and there is no reason why one day they aren’t playing in the FA Cup proper!”
“I was delighted when Karl Robinson came over to speak with the boys last night. I won’t go in to exactly what he said but for someone of his stature to take time out to praise the lads for the way they played and give them inspiration going forwards shows how well they played. Finally from me there are lots of people I’d like to thank.
"Without naming individuals, I’d like to thank the support that we have from the many volunteers within the club, the Maidenhead supporters that came to watch and the First Team players who took time out of their busy schedules to cheer the lads on. However, the biggest thanks go to the many parents who constantly drive the lads to games and training; without your support none of this would have been possible, thank you. I wish you all a Merry Christmas with family and friends and a Happy and Healthy New Year.”
MAGPIES: Chapman, Gough, Dirkin, Chitepo, Playle ©, Curtis (Sub Croker ’82), Borkovic (Sub Owusu-Barnieh ‘9), Boyd, Gibson (Sub Crocker ’82), Smith, Boniface.
Subs not used: Pidgeon, Bouzidi, Elarfa.
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