Football Management & Technology

Bognor Regis Town 0 Horsham U18s 5

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Monday 3rd October
Isthmian Youth League South
Bognor Regis Town U18s 0 Horsham U18s 5
Att 90

After an uninspiring first period of few chances, Rob Semark’s Isthmian Youth League squad turned on the style with a five star, second half, display at Nyewood Lane on Monday evening that left the Rocks rolling!

Coming exactly a week after their FA Youth Cup 3rd qualifying round exit to Kingstonian, Semark was forced into number changes due to a combination of injury and availability with 15 year old goalkeeper, and Bognor resident, A Lelliott joining two other subs in a very traditional, and spacious, dug out below ground level.

From this vantage point all three subs would have had a worm’s eye view of a beautifully manicured natural grass pitch for which the Rocks have long been famed and both teams settled into the half moving the ball round well on the excellent surface without really troubling each other.

After 25 minutes F Knight picked out S Zagdouni with a diagonal ball and the Bognor defence had to be alert to the forward’s movement as he chested the ball down and looked certain to break the line. The resulting corner came to nothing as the shot sailed high over Bennett in the Rocks goal.

Soon after T Pereira-Leeatin threatened to break and, as he poked the loose ball past his opponent, was brought crashing to the floor by Barnes. Rather than speaking the offender, referee Barrett chose instead to admonish the injured party and the Hornets captain, E Ndhlovu, presumably for their protests!

There was a scare for the Hornets just after the half hour mark as a dangerous cross from the left was sliced over his own crossbar as E Moteane attempted to clear the danger.

In the next passage of play, Ndhlovu broke up a Bognor attack in midfield and released J Clay who in turn slipped in Zagdouni on the left only to see the assistant’s raised flag indicate that his team had strayed offside.

Horsham came even closer just before the break as J Wallace took a touch before coolly rolling past Bennett but, again, the assistant’s flag came to the Rocks rescue before they had their best chance of the half as Edgley got down well to push a well struck shot past his left hand upright.

HT Bognor Regis Town 0 – 0 Horsham

If the first half had been somewhat uninspiring what was to come was anything but.

Semark’s halftime pep talk seemed to galvanize his squad, clad for the first time this season in their new navy blue away kit which has been kindly sponsored by our friends, and supporters, Visit Horsham, and they wasted little time unpicking an, up until then, resolute Bognor midfield and defence.

J Archard was upended 25 yards out from where E Moteane flashed the resulting set-piece just wide but it wasn’t long after this that the visitors opened the scoring. The ever effervescent Zagdouni wriggled himself a yard of space wide on the left before delivering a good cross into the centre which initially looked too high for Morris to benefit from. But, stretching elegantly, Morris, with his back to goal, skillfully plucked the ball down from shoulder height before swivelling and lashing the ball beyond the helpless Bennett.

A second goal then arrived on the stroke of the hour as ever willing forward Wallace showed quick feet to get away from his marker and deliver an accurate low cross which Zagdouni swept home from close range to double the Hornets’ lead.

Horsham were now purring as they they clicked through the midfield gears and, perhaps borne from frustration, recently introduced substitute Slater was cautioned for hauling down Moteane as he once again threatened to break away. Horsham then added a third after T Pereira-Leeatin rolled a ball down the left hand touchline where Wallace held it up carefully before crossing accurately to where the aforementioned Pereira-Leeatin had arrived, driving a powerful shot at the overworked Bennett in the Rocks goal. Bennett could only block the drive and Pereira-Leeatin reacted quickest, lashing the ball into the back of the net.

Although down, Bognor certainly weren’t out and continued to pose the Hornets defence problems down the flanks. On each occasion though, be it a shot, cross or attempt to break into the centre, the defensive partnership of I Hazouza and F Knight thwarted them, often then launching counter attacks of their own.

Just after the hour a fourth goal arrived for the visitors and it was goal of real quality. Morris, at the heart of midfield creativity, picked the ball up and chipped a well weighted ball forward onto which Zagdouni raced before volleying an unstoppable shot which bulged the net before it came to rest.

J Hayes then replaced the effective J Clay before Horsham got their fifth and this time, rather than a team effort, this was all about Archard. Fully justifying his recent inclusion in the Sussex Schools U18 representative squad, Archard picked the ball up 30 yards out before skipping skillfully past a couple of challenges and drawing Bennett off his line. The chance seemed to have been missed as Archard stepped left, narrowing the angle even further, but, after steadying himself he coolly rolled the ball into the far corner with Bennett floundering.

Semark then made this second change of the evening, replacing Moteane with A Colombini, while asking a Pereira-Leeatin to relinquish his forward role and drop into the vacant left-back berth with Colombini taking up the forward role.

Even at 5-0, Horsham refused to yield and Zagdouni was unfortunate not to claim his hat-trick after forcing Bennett into two saves, late in the game. The first was a spectacular save to push over a rasping shot and the second where he got down well to hold another dangerous drive from the diminutive forward who was really enjoying this encounter.

Finally, with the game safe, Semark made his third and final change of the evening, handing his Isthmian Youth League debut as he replaced G Edgley in goal. Lelliott, who has also been seen helping warm up 1st team goalkeepers this, and last, season, gets most of his game time keeping goal for the Mid-Sussex Youth League under 18 squad and will have been delighted to have got a couple of touches of the ball before the referee brought the game to a conclusion.

Semark said after the game, “it was quite a treat to play on such a lovely grass pitch and the lads took to the environment looking to build our attacks with a little more care than we have shown of late.

“Bognor were industrious and caused one or two problems for us in wide areas, but at half time I felt confident we could kick on and take more control of the game.

‘It was great to see us click into gear second half and when this team connects with their passing they can be pretty devastating. We won’t get carried away by this result, it’s a tough league with plenty of challenges ahead, but it was a decent performance and nice to score some terrific team goals”.

Man of the Match: F Knight & I Al Meskin Hazouza.

The two centre backs combined well to provide a clean sheet and a good platform to build our attacks from.

Squad

1.G Edgley
2. J Archard
3. E Moteane
4. F Knight
5. I Hazouza
6. E Ndhlovu (C)
7. S Zagdouni
8. M Morris
9. J Wallace
10. J Clay
11. T Pereira-Leeatin
Subs
12. J Hayes
14. A Colombini
GK. A Lelliott

Match report by Shaun Scott
Image by Caitlin Hollis

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