Match report: The FA Youth Cup 2nd Round Prelim. - Bridgwater & Taunton College

BTFC/Team BTC vs Torquay United

With Torquay bringing in several players to bolster their squad it was a different game than the SWCYL encounter a few weeks earlier which BTFC won 3-1. This game was physically more demanding, not a straight forward game – but with three useful attackers, the visitors looked to use them extensively.

For BTFC it was felt they could win the midfield confrontation, keep the opposition centre backs occupied and utilise Manley & Durrant to support the flanks.

In the first 15 minutes, the sides were very industrious in their attempts to gain the initiative – the pace of the game sharp from both sides.

The first opportunity fell to the visitors when a soft back pass was intercepted, but fortunately, Wilkinson was alert and narrows the angle to deny a finish.From that point, the home team made the majority of the games moments.

O’Halloran had his marker on ice with some electric runs and good opportunities to take the lead. However, he was just off target on two occasions with the third grazing the crossbar. McKenna was combining well with Byrne and Coppin, Coppin a real handful with blistering runs keeping the Torquay defence on red alert. Watts and Cottrill controlled the lions share of encounters as Sandford and Mason got hold of the Torquay strikers.

Creating more moments, a few free kicks were awarded where Manley and Byrne delivered some delightful passes that nearly got the intended player free. However not to be denied, a Manley corner found Sandford timing his run to perfection and firing the opening 1-0.

The visitors looked to respond, but a strong shape plus resolve from BTFC kept Torquay to long speculative balls Wilkinson, Manley, Mason, Sandford and Durrant dealt with.

O’Halloran was now getting some lovely slide-rule passes from Watts while Byrne delivered McKenna off Cottrill solid harassing. The next goal was a credit to the players keeping the ball alive under pressure for McKenna to cleverly ease the ball beyond the visitor’s press to release Coppin. Not expecting such a well-weighted pass the Torquay defender upended Coppin for a certain penalty. With a calm approach, Coppin himself took the spot-kick to put it past the keeper 2-0.

With half time looming it was disappointing to give away the ball in an area where a simple pass was required… the resulting interception led to the visitors pulling a goal back 2-1. A good finish but an avoidable situation from a home teams viewpoint. However a timely reminder on keeping a focus on good decisions.

In the second period, both teams continued to provide an entertaining contest. The visitors altered some personnel and threw everything at the home side. But possibly too direct apart from a few dribbles, which although caused a threat and put BTFC deeper, it didn’t open enough gaps to exploit. On the other hand, BTFC was unfortunate not to hit Torquay on the counter. McKenna and O’Halloran before being replaced teased their markers while Coppin’s pace plus willingness to run couldn’t be ignored. With Scott and Purser coming on with fresh legs we didn’t concede territory through the thirds but did again need to be aware of the ball straight through. The backline remained focused, although conceding a few free kicks the defence and Wilkinson’s hands remained secure. When Ham came on for skipper Byrne his role was to maintain the middle with Watts and Cottrill close enough to cover the majority of the loose ball.

When the final whistle went it was a credit to both sides for the energy given to the cause, BTFC earned the win with edging the final third moments and defending with unwavering resilience.

With many solid performances, O’Halloran edged the first period, but on overall reflection, Harley Wilkinson’s aided by some good defending in front of him takes Man of the Match with a good range of distribution, good organisation and controlled presence. This ultimately contributed to the 2-1 Win.

Credit to the ground staff and catering staff for providing a good pitch and warm welcome.
With the FAYC restricting substitutes to three before extra time, it’s very much part of this teams personality that everyone was equally as engaged right till the game was called time on.

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