Town Cedars Upper School side progress after last-16 victory
The Cedars Upper School and Luton Town F.C. ‘A’-Level Football Development Programmes 2016 started very brightly as they progressed into the last eight of the ESFA National Schools Cup, a competition that attracts well in excess of 500 entrants from all four corners of the country.
Their last-16 game took the group to Walthamstow to play Rushcroft High School a school who run a Football Development programme in conjunction with Colchester United. The Cedars lads returned home with a comfortable 4-1 victory against a very good Rushcroft group.
Cedars took the lead on 22 minutes through Michael Fullerton who smartly finished after the goalkeeper parried a powerful Ezra Forde shot into his path. Forde was a thorn in the side of Rushcroft throughout as they struggled to deal with his power, pace and technicality.
Rushcroft were always a threat with a front three that contained frightening pace in wide areas. In the main the Cedars defensive unit dealt with this threat very well and limited Rushcroft to just a couple of serious shots on Ed Davey’s goal. One of these gave Rushcroft the equaliser on 46 minutes when a pulled back cross from the left was deftly finished into the top right corner.
Cedars were on the back foot for the next 15 minutes and some extremely brave defending kept the score level. Then a characteristic Chris Gosling dribble into the penalty area saw him tripped and the resultant penalty converted with aplomb by Paolo Bagatti.
From this point on Cedars controlled the game with two further goals from Ezra Forde, the goals were virtual carbon copies of each other with clever line breaking passes setting him in behind the Rushcroft back-four where he finished calmly one-v-one, sliding the ball past the goalkeeper.
With the score 4-1, the Cedars lads managed the game superbly for the last 12 minutes and with a little more composure around the edge of the opposing penalty are might have added further to the scoreline.
Head Coach Stuart Smith told lutontown.co.uk: “Joe Deeney and I could not have asked for any more from the lads. They performed like a proper football team, passed the ball quickly and cleverly, didn’t resort to smashing it long when we were on the back foot, defended bravely and properly, understanding when they could play out of trouble and when they needed to put a foot through it and reorganise and in the last 10 minutes didn’t resort to taking the ball into corners but managed the game through maintaining possession of the ball.
“It was really pleasing to see how the lads are developing technically and tactically whilst also starting to understand how to close games out and win them, which ultimately will be the aim of any first team manager they play for in a year or twos time.
“The only negative on the whole was the unfortunate injury to Paolo Bagatti who broke his wrist in a fall as his far post header was cleared off the line. Fortunately, it seems to be a standard break and the fact there are no complications mean he could be back in around four weeks. We wish him a speedy recovery.
“We are now awaiting the result of the Stanley Park High from Sutton and St Bedes Senior School from Eastbourne game to see who we play in the last eight on or around the 29th of this month. Hopefully we will also be able to report success and progress into the last 4 after this game.”