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Ballinger proud as Stratford Town Youth reach League Cup final

Stratford Town Youth will take on Stourbridge in the final of the MFYL League Cup. Photo courtesy of Stratford Town FC
Stratford Town Youth will take on Stourbridge in the final of the MFYL League Cup. Photo courtesy of Stratford Town FC

SECOND-half goals from George Kirby and Alfie Boylin propelled Stratford Town Youth into the final of the MFYL League Cup after a 2-0 semi-final victory over Wednesfield at the MoodChimp Stadium on Wednesday night, writes Bryan Hale.

Both sides made a cautious start with most of the early action in midfield. Ben Couki wasn’t far away in the 15th minute with a well struck low drive from 25 yards out, but with defences on top, neither side was able to create a clearcut opening.

A Josh Aspinall-Smyth free-kick floated in from the left touchline on 25 minutes almost deceived the Wednesfield keeper Vishal Sharma as it drifted inches wide and soon after Sharma just about held on to another Aspinall-Smyth free-kick at the foot of his left hand post.

Wednesfield started to push forward more towards the end of the first half. Kieran Cook shot straight at Town keeper Archie Donaldson, who then did well to tip over a fierce effort from Steve Camara five minutes before the break as half-time was reached with the game still goalless.

And it was Wednesfield who were quickest into their stride after the restart, with Donaldson soon having to make a stunning save as he took off to his left to push a Cook header around the post.

Town responded with Sharma needing two attempts to hold a decent strike from Tyrike Richards-Burke on the hour mark as they began to have the better of the possession, and they went ahead in the 65th minute when Tom Rowe’s cross from the left was met by Kirby and his header looped over Sharma to drop into the far corner of the net.

Wednesfield were clearly rattled at going behind and one or two crunching tackles went in before one of their players launched into a wild challenge on the halfway line with 15 minutes left and was promptly sent off.

And Town were quick to punish them even further as three minutes later Boylin surged down the inside right channel to fire past the advancing Sharma and put hem two up.

There was no way back for Wednesfield after that, and although Town had to deal with a couple of testing free-kicks into their six-yard box, they saw the game out without any real serious alarms to clinch their place in the final.

Waiting for them will be old rivals Stourbridge, with the final being provisionally scheduled for Thursday, 10th May at Bromsgrove Sporting’s ground, but both the date and venue will be confirmed as soon as possible.

“It was a hard-earned win against a very good Wednesfield side,” said youth team boss Nick Ballinger.

“I’m pleased as punch for all the lads involved. Most of them have been at the club for several years working their way up through the various junior and colts sections and reaching this final is their reward for all the effort they have put in over that time.”

Stratford Town Youth: Archie Donaldson, Sacha Everard, Lewis Timms, Josh Aspinall-Smyth, Jamie Ford, Ben Couki (c), Tom Rowe, Dan Atkins, George Dawson, Bradley West, Tyrike Richards-Burke. Subs (all used under rolling subs system) Harry Hartin, Alfie Boylin, George Kirby, Caine Elliott.

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