Holmer run in the FA Youth Cup ends in disappointment.
Despite dominating possession, failure to convert chances costs Greens dearly.
Match Report Tuesday 17th October 2017
FA Youth Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Holmer Green 0 Marlow 0 after Extra-Time. Marlow won 4-5 on pens
Ask most in attendance at this match and they’d agree that if it’d been a boxing match it could have been stopped anytime. The contest to progress to the next round of the FA Youth was one of the most one sided ever witnessed at Watchet Lane with the home side dominating play and possession virtually throughout without being able to find that vital ingredient – a goal.
The early minutes showed what was to follow when in the second minute Parsons broke through a tackle, moved the ball out to Rice who cut inside and fired a left foot shot that was superbly tipped over the bar by Turner in the Marlow goal. Then from the corner Scott saw his header cleared off the goaline for another corner. Good interchange between Osplund-Evans and Rice saw the latter’s cross find Blackman in the area, but his shot was well held by Turner. Marlow’s first real attack resulted in a foul on McCarthy and Rice headed Earl’s free-kick wide although the Referee over-ruled his Assistant and awarded a corner. Fortunately nothing materialised from the kick and it was Holmer who continued to press forward with a good run and cross by Blackman that gave Mead an opportunity he saw blocked, before a driving run by Parsons provided similarly for Rice whose cross into the area was scrambled clear. Taylor then did well to dive and hold a low cross into the visitor’s area, before, on thirty-seven minutes, denying Rice by pushing out his fiercely hit shot and Riley’s follow-up effort was diverted for a corner. More wow from the deadball kick as Blackman’s header hit the post and cleared.
Just before the break, a rare Marlow attack from a long clearance, saw Parsons win the race with Nicol and head back to Humphreys, for one of the few touches Greens stand-in goalkeeper had. This was sandwiched in between two more attempts by Blackman who firstly shot just the wrong side of the post and then following a foul on Britton, his quick free-kick to Blackman brought another fine save by Turner who tipped around for a corner.
The start of the second-half saw a continuation of the Greens dominance and from Scott’s deep free-kick Parsons had a shot parried by Turner and Blackman tantalisingly failed to get the touch needed to force the ball home. Another aggressive run by Rice ended with his shot being well held low down as he and Blackman continued to cause problems with their forward runs without being able to provide the bit of magic required to open the scoring.
On the hour another long clearance by the visitors resulted in a rare corner from which Humphreys was grateful to see the ball headed straight at him, but Holmer replied with a good passing move put Williams away and his effort was deflected for a corner. As Marlow enjoyed a brief spell of possession, McCarthy was fouled outside the Greens area, but Bowles mis-hit shot from distance didn’t have the power and Humphreys kicked clear. For Holmer, Blackman’s header from Britton’s cross was straight at the goalkeeper before Marlow had maybe their best chance of the night when Hickman chased another long ball as the home defence was caught upfield, but under pressure he was forced wide and shooting off balance, missed the target.
As the match entered the last ten minutes of normal time, Greens applied more pressure with Rice scuffing an effort wide of the post, Mead just unable to get on the end of a good cross by Blackman and then Mead again working a good chance for himself, but not showing enough conviction and firing straight at Turner. The final Greens corner of the ninety minutes demonstrated the charmed life enjoyed by the Marlow defence, when Rice’s kick caused more panic and Lynsey’s head grazed the foot of his own post and away from Blackman’s desperate reach.
The home side made a change at the start of Extra-Time with Santaniello replacing Williams in midfield and this proved problematic soon after when he was cautioned early on. It was more of the same as Holmer continued to play the football with Marlow resorting to massed defence and reliant on the long ball to relieve pressure. Blackman’s forward run forced a corner then soon after the same player found Mead in the area and his powerful shot was blocked by dogged defenders. As the ball was cleared into midfield a late tackle by Santaniello resulted in a caution (arguably it could have been worse) and as it was his second within six minutes of entering the fray, he was sent off leaving Holmer with ten men. Greens made another change with Booth who replaced Riley moving alongside Parsons and Scott moving into midfield and it was Scott who had the next chance when the ball bobbled about in the Marlow area and his header was saved by Turner. Marlow had a chance when a free-kick into the home area was cleared to Lynsky but he fired well wide before Britton’s corner at the other end was headed clear by Lynsky straight to Blackman who fired over.
The second period of Extra-Time started with Theodore cutting in from the right and his powerful cross-shot was pushed out for a corner by Humphreys before Marlow were also reduced to ten men when McCarthy picked up a second yellow card and was also dismissed from the field of play.
With both teams understandably tiring, the inevitable penalties loomed although Greens continued to push forward without being able to create the goal their dominance deserved and Rice and Blackman had more efforts that came to nothing before the final whistle.
So to penalties, never a good way to decide a game, but it has to be said that the first nine kicks were very well hit giving neither keeper much chance to save (England could learn from some of these lads). However, with Esplund-Evans needing to score to move to sudden death, his well hit effort hit the top of the bar thus Marlow winning the tie 5-4 on penalties.
For Holmer, it was a disappointing end to a match they should have won comfortably, but as someone once said ‘it’s a funny old game’ and you don’t always get what you deserve. Greens were left to rue the chances created and missed with too many shots under hit or not hit cleanly and maybe a lack of tempo and aggression in their forward play. Marlow seemed content to defend in numbers and rely on the long boot forward and at times Holmer played into their hands by not using the width of the pitch or moving the ball quickly. That said, the visitor’s goalkeeper, David Turner, had a fine match and was undoubtedly their MOM whilst they defended resiliently that ultimately won them the tie. It was just a shame at the end a little more graciousness and humility wasn’t shown to their opponents which against some teams may have resulted in some unnecessary trouble.
Next up for Holmer are Wembley Town on Thursday 26th October at Watchet Lane, Holmer Green kick-off 1945hrs.
Team: Oliver Humphreys, Oskar Esplund-Evans, Luca Perrin, Luke Williams, Ryan Parsons, Mason Scott, Elliot Britton, Adam Riley, Regan Mead, Alex Rice, Leo Blackman.
Substitutes Used: Dominic Santaniello, Jonathan Booth,
Substitutes Not Used: Sam Collins, Louis Parker-Steele, Josh Todd.
Report by John Ostinelli