Midland Floodlit Youth League, Premier South
Stratford Town 0-0 Lye Town
Report by Bryan Hale
STRATFORD Town Youth are within touching distance of the MFYL Premier Division South title after securing a hard-earned point against a resolute Lye Town side at the Arden Garages Stadium on Thursday evening.
There may have been no goals, but there was plenty of goalmouth action, and when news came through afterwards that Gloucester City had lost to Rugby Borough Juniors a quick calculation showed that Darren Timms’ battlers only need three more points from their remaining four games to be confirmed as champions.
Since a managerial change at the turn of the year, Lye are much improved and Town knew that they were in for a tough evening as the Black Country side piled forward straight from the kick-off.
Inside the opening five minutes Ash Ademi fired narrowly over followed by Aaron Bishop having a fierce effort blocked by Sacha Everard and then Olly Buchanan shooting straight at Town keeper Ryan Woodward.
Town responded with leading scorer Tommy Harrington seeing his well-struck right-footer beaten away by Lye keeper Ryan Pratt, but Lye were looking the more threatening of the two teams and on 20 minutes Dan Sutton cut in from the left let fly with a shot that was parried by Woodward, with Town skipper Josh Aspinall-Smyth being in the right place to complete the clearance.
Then around the half-hour mark Town then enjoyed their best spell of the game so far.
Firstly Tyricke Richards-Burke latched onto a long ball, but dragged his hot wide with only Pratt to beat followed by Harrington having a close range attempt cleared off the line by Jay Rossiter and then Caine Elliott surging through the middle to lay on another chance for Richards-Burke whose goal-bound effort rebounded away off a defender.
But there was no let-up in the pace as Lye finished the first half on the attack.
Only Woodward’s outstretched leg prevented Bishop from opening the scoring in the 37th minute and the Town stopper then had to pull off two more smart saves from Buchanan and Ademi to keep it all square at the break.
Lye had the first opening after the restart when Sutton crossed to Buchanan whose shot was deflected behind, but Town now began to show their quality and create the better of the chances.
On 62 minutes a Bradley West shot was somehow kept out by Pratt at point-blank range and a few minutes later Richards-Burke whipped in a cross from the right which reached Harrington, who was promptly crowded out before he was able to make room for the finish.
With a quarter of an hour to go Ademi fired wastefully over and five minutes later Lye could have nicked it when Bishop lifted the ball over the advancing Woodward as the keeper came out to meet him, but again Aspinall-Smyth was there to tidy it all up.
In between Harrington had fired in rasping drive which was capably dealt with by Pratt and the draw which both sides thoroughly deserved became a certainty when Town substitute Toby Scott hit the final chance of an entertaining and exhausting evening straight at Pratt with just a couple of minutes left.
But Town now have the chance to clinch the title on Monday evening when they travel to face Worcester City. A win there and the celebrations can begin.