Midland Floodlit Youth League, Southern Premier
Stratford Town 1
Evesham United 0
Report by Bryan Hale
A SPECTACULAR strike from 15-year-old Jamie Spiers early in the second half propelled Nick Ballinger’s new look Town Youth side to their first win of the season in a closely fought encounter against Evesham United at the Arden Garages Stadium on Thursday evening.
Spiers’ moment of magic topped off a battling Town performance against the hard-working Robins with Michael Boyd and Rob Singer in eyecatching form when Town pushed forward while at the back skipper Rob Sone was unruffled throughout and there was an accomplished display from another 15-year-old in keeper Callum Monaghan.
It was soon evident that this was going to be a game between two evenly matched teams, and neither goal was seriously threatened until the half-hour mark when Evesham’s Sam Butler drilled in a well-struck low drive which was turned behind by Monaghan getting down well at the foot of his left-hand post.
Town responded with Boyd working his way to the byline down the left only for his cross to be deflected behind before the Robins finished the half with a bit of a flourish as a Henry McMahon shot fizzed inches wide followed by Chris Lewis having a shot rebound off a Town defender and then Monaghan beating away another decent attempt from the lively McMahon.
But it was Town who were immediately into their stride after half time, with Singer having a fiercely hit drive safely held by Evesham keeper Will Phillips before the Robins then wasted the best chance of the evening so far in the 55th minute to take the lead.
McMahon cut in from the right to square the ball across to Butler, who could only screw his shot well wide and how costly that miss would prove to be was emphasised a couple of minutes later when Spiers received the ball some 25 yards out.
Spotting the Phillips had strayed off his line he let fly with a superbly struck effort which soared over the keeper and then dipped under the bar into the net.
The Robins tried to hit back straight away, but Monaghan pulled off another full length save to deny Lewis and with the game now far more open only the legs of Phillips at the other end prevented Boyd putting Town two up.
With a quarter of an hour still to go Oliver Whelan surged through before being brought down on the edge of the Town penalty to give the Robins a free-kick in a particularly promising position, but it was blazed a long way over and their last real chance of an equaliser had gone.
Showing admirable composure Town saw the game out to secure the win which will surely give them just the confidence boost they need when they travel to Bromyard Town for the FA Youth Cup preliminary round tie on Monday evening.