Blues Youngsters Spot On
Blues progressed in the Essex Senior Cup 4-2 on penalties writes The Mariner.
Fielding a team made up of Reserves ,Under 18s and four players from the 1st team squad, Blues won through to the next round against Stansted eventually winning on penalties after the scores were level one apiece at 90 minutes. Lamar Johnson featured prominently in the resultant shoot out saving one kick and then stepping up to score the decisive winner ! Manager Jamie Stuart was an interested observer casting an eye over the youngsters on display and would have been encouraged by the performances of certain players who gave a good account of themselves in a game played out in difficult conditions with a sloping playing surface , and in the second half playing into a blustery wind and driving rain .
Stansted made a bright start and could have gone in front inside the first three minutes when their striker turned and fired just wide of the far post. Home fans didn't have to wait long though for their team to register a goal when their wide man was left free inside the box and sent a low drive past Johnson on 4 minutes.
The goal sparked the young Blues into life and they enjoyed a long period of possession albeit not creating a goalscoring opportunity.Tim Monsheju and Callum Ibe looked lively up front and were coming in for some harsh treatment from their hosts with a number of questionable challenges which should have resulted in a card being shown ,the referee thought otherwise.
Blues got back on level terms in the 19th minute thanks to the Ibe Monsheju combination. Ibe reacting quickly to a ball threaded through the heart of the Stansted defence rode a couple of challenges and found the unmarked Monsheju who made no mistake slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
Chances were few and far between as the half progressed with neither side carving out a worthwhile opportunity .The pace of the game at times became frantic with both sides guilty of rushing their passes it cried out for an older head to slow the game down and build patiently to create openings.
The second period saw Blues enjoy a good deal of early possession and consequently they started to test the hosts back four. Blues were using either flank to get behind the home defence, the Stansted keeper was kept busy during this period rushing from his line on a number of occasions to snuff out the danger.
Jack Fowler thought he had put Blues in front when he rose highest from a free kick sending in a downward header that was somehow cleared off the line.Stansted quickly replied and should have gone ahead when their forward was left clear but rushed his shot and the danger was cleared. Monsheju then had a chance breaking clear down the right flank he cut inside but failed to hit the target and blasted into the side netting.
After enjoying the early pressure Blues faded and it was Stansted who began to press but despite seeing more of the ball they failed to trouble Johnson. As the rain sheeted across the park conditions began to deteriorate with the ball skimming off the surface making control difficult ,consequently the game became disjointed with a number of unsavoury incidents, one of which should have seen a Stansted man shown a red card for appearing to throw a punch at Fowler , remarkably he was shown a yellow.
With no further scores the final whistle led to the lottery of a penalty shoot out with Blues coming out on top 4-2.
Johnson, Adebiyi, Thompson, Ahmadshah ,Okonkwo, Fowler, Gogo-Ibiama, Zailor, Monsheju, Brown, Ibe,
Subs, Soyenu, Brojaj, Curtain-Farrell, Thomas, Chebesi