Midland Floodlit Youth League, Southern Premier Division
Stratford Town Youth 4 (Lee 15, Sone 28, Singer 76, Boyd 82)
Worcester City 1 (Patrick-Rivers 23)
Report by Bryan Hale
WITH the Arden Garages Stadium pitch recovering well from the effects of the recent deluges, Stratford Town Youth were able to play only their third home game of the season last Thursday evening when they turned on the style to storm to an emphatic win over leaders Worcester City.
Three days earlier a much-depleted Town line-up had lost at Stourbridge, but Nick Ballinger was able to field a far stronger side for this one and they fully deserved what was ultimately a comprehensive success.
Yet it was table-topping City who made the brighter start by forcing two early corners, but Town soon settled down and went ahead in the 15th minute when Stuart Lee chased after a long pass down the inside right channel.
City goalkeeper Ben Clay rashly charged out of his area to try to intercept, but Lee reached it first and skipped past him before sliding the ball unerringly into the empty net.
With both Lee and Rob Sone causing the Worcester backline plenty of problems, and Dan Chaundy showing some nice touches out on the left, Town were looking good, but they were pegged back in the 23rd minute.
Goalkeeper Callum Monaghan did well to turn a decent effort behind, but Town failed to deal with the resulting corner and Matt Patrick-Rivers seized on the loose ball to drill it into the bottom corner.
But it only took Town five minutes to regain the lead when Sone’s persistence saw him outpace the Worcester defence to surge into the right of the penalty area and blast the ball past the advancing Clay.
Town then twice went close to extending their advantage in the closing minutes of the first half with Lee firing over from the edge of the penalty area and then Sone almost catching Clay out with a teasing lob from wide on the right which the keeper only just managed to palm over as he anxiously back-pedalled.
It was Sone again in the opening minute of the second half with a fiercely-struck shot which was turned over by Clay and ten minutes later it was Lee’s turn to be denied, as he cut in from the left to hit a low drive which ricocheted away off the Worcester goalkeeper’s legs.
Being only one down Worcester were still in the game, but Mike O’Regan and Sammy Mould made sure that they struggled to create any real clear-cut openings and Monaghan wasn’t too troubled by a couple of on-target attempts before Town resumed in control.
With 15 minutes to go Sone let fly from distance with a terrific right-footer which looked to be heading for the top corner until Clay leapt to his left to tip it over at full stretch.
And a minute or so later Town effectively put the result beyond doubt with their third goal when substitute Rob Singer raced onto a perfectly weighted through ball to shoot past Clay.
Fellow substitute Mike Boyd added a fourth in the 82nd minute with a crisp drive to round off tremendous team performance and a thoroughly satisfying evening.