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Young guns shine in senior cup defeat

Bedworth United 2, Stratford Town 1

The Birmingham Senior Cup is a competition to be enjoyed away from the weightier matters of League, FA Cup and Trophy, reports Kevin Hand. Inevitably it produces games of free-flowing attractive football and this was no exception. That the Greenbacks were triumphant on this occasion did not diminish the evening.

The Bards’ starting eleven was much changed from the side that defeated Royston at the weekend. Rested were Liam O’Brien, Paul McCone, Lewis Ison, Chris Hussey, Callum Ebanks and Dan Lafferty with youngsters Louis Beresford, Finn Harvey, Devonn O’Sullivan, Zach McKenzie and Jaylan Wildbore among those stepping in to take their places.

The opposition included a few familiar faces, none more so than former Bards skipper Will Grocott who wore the captain’s armband and Stratford old boy Joe Magunda.

Jaylan Wildbore was one of those handed a start at Bedworth.
Jaylan Wildbore was one of those handed a start at Bedworth.

The opening minutes were tentative from both sides with Bedworth shading possession. The Greenbacks forced four corners in the opening ten minutes and Grocott’s low, driven delivery unsettled the Stratford defence.

The Bards’ back-line was undone on 21 minutes but Beresford proved brave and smart in blocking striker Mayemba Star’s shot in a one-on-one situation.

Gradually, Tom Solanke and Dylan Barkers gained control of midfield and with Alex Worley and Charlie Williams combining well on the left, the Bards gained a measure of control.

A Williams cross saw Wildbore head over and McKenzie combined with O’Sullivan that resulted in a shot clipping the bar. On 33 minutes a long ball found Williams in the clear and his fierce drive was turned aside for a corner by keeper Sam Lomax.

It was against the run of play that Bedworth took the lead. A Grocott corner from the right on 36 minutes was missed by the Stratford defence and Kyle Burke was on hand at the back post to force the ball home.

Stratford Town goalscorer Charlie Williams.
Stratford Town goalscorer Charlie Williams.

The opening minutes of the second half saw the Bards in the ascendant with Solanke, Barkers and O’Sullivan to the fore. A driving run from McKenzie saw the young winger brought down 22 yards out and in a central position. Charlie Williams took the free-kick and Lomax threw himself low to his left to palm the ball away.

An O’Sullivan header from a Williams’ cross was tipped over the bar and another Williams’ shot was just wide on 66 minutes. Harvey and McKenzie left the fray – the former giving an assured and confident display, the latter an aggressive and direct performance.

The game seemed up on 76 minutes when Star broke free to double the home side’s advantage but a brilliant strike from Williams on 86 minutes from another dead ball situation kept things interesting to the end.

Bedworth: Lomax, Moore, Kyle Burke, Murphy, Magunda, Kory Burke (C Donaldson 74), Blythe, Blackmore, Star (Makidtadi 84), Grocott. Subs (not used): M Donaldson, Parrott, Elliot

Bards: Bereford, Harvey (Gbehe74), Worley, Daly, Vann, O’Sullivan, McKenzie. Barkers, Wildbore (Wilson 84), Solanke (Cund 85), Williams. Subs (not used): Clutterbuck

Bards Star Man: Tom Solanke

Opposition Star Man: Sam Lomax

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