17th May 2019 |Youth News | Views

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Wednesday 15th May 2019

Ashford United Under 15s (Kent Youth League) 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion Under 15s


Venue – Whyteleafe FC

By Ross Shardlow

With the season drawing to a close, Managers Martyn Halls and Kyle Galea decided that the lads could afford to take on a different challenge this week after securing a game against Brighton & Hove Albion’s Academy Development squad.  The interest was initially shown when a scout attended the league match between Ashford and Maidstone and was so impressed with Ashford’s whole team performance that he contacted Martyn & Kyle and asked if the boys would be interested in a friendly. The Nuts & Bolts boys travelled to Whyteleafe FC’s ground Wednesday evening for a 17:35 kick off.

With warm weather and beautiful early evening sunshine the boys got into their starting formation with excitement and a little trepidation at what they were expecting to be their biggest challenge to date.  With the first blow of the referees whistle Ashford were off and flying and caught the opposition team completely off guard with the Brighton players looking as though they were expecting a walk in the park.  The Nuts & Bolts boys took only 7 minutes to find the back of the net with a fine strike from Jeremiah Bamgbose which eluded Brighton’s keeper.

It was one of those wonderful days where every single one of Ashford’s U15s team had brought there ‘A game’ and it seemed like they were the first to every ball, won every one on one challenge and every pass found its’ target.

The link up play between right back Rowan Shardlow and winger Gus Barnes left Brighton with zero response and very quickly they tried to avoid that side of the pitch but with the strikers causing havoc and the midfield running amok on the few occassions that Brighton did manage to get through, they were dealt with instantly by centre backs Adam Potten and Barney Halls. There was very little of the pitch with which Brighton had room to move. 

Ashford’s second goal came in the 27th minute when Gus Barnes charged his way from the half way line flanked by skipper Alfie Prior and Midfielder George McIlroy and the Brighton keeper was yet again beaten. The half time whistle blew with Ashford in command and with a 2 goal advantage.

The second half was a repeat of the first with Ashford in dominant mood and it took only 5 minutes for new boy Egid Aydin to find his first goal for the team and the Nuts & Bolts lads extended their advantage to 3 goals. It seemed as though Brighton really had no answer to Ashford’s pace and the way in which they refused to let go of possession but their was some consolation when they did finally manage to claw one back with 15 minutes remaining and came close only one other time which keeper Matt Lane parried over the bar. With only 8 minutes of the match left to play it was nearly 4 goals for Ashford but Jeremiah was deemed off side and he was denied his second. The game was called to a close with Ashford winning 3-1 with a performance that every player can be hugely proud of.

So impressed were the Brighton Academy staff that they have told Martyn Halls that they will invite the team down to the AMEX Training ground in the near future for another meeting.

The boys are back in action on Friday May 17th when they see out the season with their final game against Tonbridge Angels at the Homelands with an expected 19:45 kick off time.