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Basford Academy Beat Port Vale To Make Midland Youth Cup Final (VIDEO NOW ONLINE)

3 years ago By Simon Ball-McQueen

United’s Under-18 Educational Academy side made yet more history with a fantastic 1-0 Midlands Youth Cup semi-final win over Port Vale on Monday night

Video highlights are now available to view online via the following link -

UPDATE: Great news. The injury sustained by Kimarni Smith, which saw him taken to hospital for concussion, saw the youngster released the same night.

Underdogs United triumphed over their Football League academy opponents thanks to an own goal in the opening seconds of the second half and held onto the lead thanks to some sturdy and resolute defending and an excellent teamwork ethic.

On a cold, wet and breezy evening at Greenwich Avenue, the players were struggling to stay on their feet in the early stages of the game, with the soaked, carpet-like surface sometimes a little too smooth for comfort.

The first chance fell to Basford on 9 minutes, when Harry Wakefield failed to make a definite connection with the ball from a corner kick, with the striker’s header drifting wide of the goal.

United looked solid and composed as the first 25 minutes ticked by with little opportunity for either side. However, Kimani Smith’s pace was causing some problems for the Vale defence, down the left-hand side.

It took 30 minutes for the visitors to have their first real effort of the game, when a Vale centre forward found himself on the end of a defence-splitting pass and slipped his shot past an oncoming Jake Wood in the Basford goal but also past Wood’s right-hand post.

Five minutes later, the Port Vale keeper spilled a deflected shot out for a corner kick, with Jack Cairns almost heading United in-front from the resulting set-piece but his well-placed header was stopped and cleared by a defender just short of the goal line.

A Port Vale winger’s blast over the bar from 18 yards was the only other real visiting chance of note in the opening 45 minutes, as the Football League academy side looked to have a monopoly in terms of possession in the first half but with Basford looking comfortable at the back when dealing with any attacking threat posed.

Second minute after the break United sensationally took the lead after a cross from the right-hand side found Jack Wood on the edge of the six yard box, whose back-heeled effort took a deflection off a lunging defender and into the Vale goal.

The goal set-up a tense second half as the underdogs then set out to protect their lead but they showed no sign of nerves or panic but Vale did come close to an equaliser, after hitting the post from a header with 50 minutes gone.

Ironically as the heavens opened once again, the game started to do the same thing, with Kirmani Smith going close 2 minutes later but the winger will have been disappointed with his final finish, which rolled into the keeper’s arms.

Next, a spectacular long-range strike from 40 yards out from the foot of a Vale central defender rattled the Basford crossbar on 62 minutes, as the visitors made it clear that they were willing to try anything to find a way back into the game.

After a 20 minute stoppage in play to treat an injured United player, Jake Wood then had to be brave and quick off his mark to deny a Vale attacking opportunity and an attacker’s lunge for the ball on 73 minutes.

Another Vale chance to tie the game was wasted two minutes later, with the visiting striker found himself in a perfect position for a strike at goal but could not react in time to compose himself, as the ball landed in the arms of a grateful Jake Wood.

Almost a carbon copy of an earlier lunging save was to follow from Jake Wood on 80 minutes, as the Valliants continued to try and find a way to take the game into extra time but Basford stood strong, defended magnificently to see out the final ten minutes and moved on to the final of the competition, which will be against Ilkeston, Walsall or Boston United, with the date and venue to be confirmed.

After the heroics of Martin Carruthers' youngsters earlier FA Youth Cup run, to now achieve a cup final in the same season is a brilliant achievement and massive congratulations are due to all players, coaches and staff involved with the football educational academy team, both at the club and at Central College.

Updated 20:46 - 27 Nov 2015 by Simon Ball-McQueen


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