FA Youth Cup And u18s Update
YOUTH: A big week for the under 18’s
After a satisfying pre-season for the under 18’s youth side, they now enter competitive football.
Nothing could be seen as more ‘straight in at the deep end’ with next Wednesday’s FA Youth Cup Extra Preliminary round tie. Last years competition was won by Liverpool on pens over Manchester City. (revenge for the EPL?)
The Whites would probably have hoped for a lesser opponent than Sparsholt colleges ‘elite’ squad that enter this prestigious competition under the Andover banner. However, you just have to get on and play your own game irrespective of the opposition. Mark Winter, manager of Salisbury’s Saturday side comments that we know Sparsholt run a very well-respected Football program over there, indeed 4 of our own squad are going to the college for the next two seasons. They have some 48 players to chose from I am told, which in normal years you would think would be an immediate advantage. However, while we don’t have 48 lads to call on, we do have two U18 squads this season. One in the South West Counties League, the other in the Hampshire Youth League. This does mean we have around 35 lads in the Pool. So, at the very least we can’t complain that we can’t raise a team.
While neither side will realistically expect to be there taking on the premier league academy sides in the final rounds, some supporters will remember two seasons back when Rich Rendall’s lads including the likes of Josh Sommerton took Swindon Town right to the wire in a nail-biting 3 v 2 defeat in the 2nd round proper. Rich, who is now one of this groups lead coaches will be hoping to progress past the first hurdle.
The Andover side went one better when they made it to the 3rd round last year before going down to Ipswich Town 3 v 0 at Portman road. Neil and our own Lewis Benson whom run the Sparsholt set up will no doubt be hoping to get close to that stage of the competition again.
The young Whites, thanks to the board of the club have a final chance to get used to the Ray Mac pitch this Saturday morning (31/8) when they take on Tadley Calleva U18’s in their final pre-season outing. Match is a 10:30 K.O.
FA Youth Cup match details
Wed 4th September
Gates open 6:30pm
Bar and tea hut 1 will be open.
Adults / concessions £3
Children 11-16 £1.50