ENGLISH SCHOOLS FA UNDER 18 NATIONAL CUP
Thurston Comm College 0 John Madejski Academy 6
THURSTON Community College’s under-18 team manager Stefan Lewis paid tribute to his players despite suffering elimination from the ESFA National Cup in a 6-0 quarter-final defeat to the John Madejski Academy on Monday.
The hosts went into the encounter as overwhelming underdogs and so it ultimately proved as the visitors’ evident pedigree shone through to book their place in the semi-final courtesy of a Jamekal Henderson double and further goals from Ashleigh Artwell, Lewis Atherley, Mitchell Parker and Devante Romeo.
“I’m not too disappointed, we came up against a very good side and they should really be looking to go on and win this competition,” said Lewis.
“We have done this area proud and the journey we have taken to get to the quarter-final is fantastic. I have tried to remind the boys of that.
“Nobody has let themselves down, there are some disappointed boys, but I have reminded them of their achievements and their efforts over the course of the competition which have been fantastic.”
The visitors started brightly and found themselves 2-0 ahead within 20 minutes as Thurston failed to deal with the pace and trickery of winger Romeo.
The architect of both goals in identical situations, he beat his marker, drove into the area before cutting the ball back for Atherley after 12 minutes and then Henderson, eight minutes later, to simply tap in past helpless keeper Oliver Whiteman.
They extended their lead further after 32 minutes as Aaron Minhas’ cross from the right-hand side found captain Artwell unmarked, to head home across Whiteman.
Moments before the break, Thurston created their best opening, but Tom Driscoll could only watch his lobbed effort over keeper Reece O’Connor hacked off the line by Nathan Bovell to keep his side’s commanding lead intact going into the interval.
Nine minutes after the restart, it was four as Parker controlled Bovell’s cross from the right, before smashing an unstoppable left-footed volley home via the underside of the bar.
The visitors continued to dictate proceedings and added two further goals in the final 15 minutes as man-of-the-match Romeo raced on to Parker’s pass to slot the ball past Whiteman before Henderson capitalised on the keeper’s attempted clearance ricochetting off Callum Clipstone to slot his second into the empty net after 82 minutes to secure progression and end Thurston’s memorable cup journey.
Thurston Community College: Whiteman, Grant, Palfrey (Bradley 65), Parkington, Clipstone, Frank (H Yallop 85), Edwards, Driscoll, Tandy, Evans, J Yallop
Shots on target 4 7
Shots off target 6 4
Woodwork 0 0
Corners 5 2
Offsides 3 2
Free kicks conceded 10 4