United 3 Plymouth 2. Full time report
United's under-18 side made it through to the third round of the FA Youth Cup as a late strike from James Roberts earned them a thrilling 3-2 win over Plymouth Argyle at Didcot tonight. A Jermaine Udumaga goal in the first half and an own goal helped the young U's to an 11th straight win in all competitions and set up a home game against Barnsley in the next round.
Plymouth, the last side to beat the young U’s, started the brighter and had a shot from Tyler Harvey well saved by keeper Josh Hill and a couple of speculative efforts go wide of the mark in the first ten minutes. United then grew into the game and started to get on the ball, with top scorer Roberts twisting through three challenges and forcing Argyle keeper Christian Walton into a good save to his right after 22 minutes.
However on 26 minutes they were behind as a simple long ball forward was allowed to bounce by a retreating back line and Harvey took full advantage to steal in behind and clip the ball neatly over the advancing Hill for the opening goal.
Some neat touches from Roberts lifted the youngsters and gave them hope and gradually they got themselves back into the match. Right on half time they were deservedly level as Jacob Hughes worked the ball in from the left and Udumaga cut past a man and then planted the ball into the net from ten yards to make it 1-1 at the interval.
Having scored at just the right time United then went ahead seven minutes into the second half. Roberts drifted in from the right and the defenders backed off and backed off. The striker’s final touch was slightly too far but defender Nathan Summers in trying to clear, only succeeded in slamming the ball into team mate Colin Watson and the ball flew past the keeper to make it 2-1, with Roberts showing all the signs of a true striker by wheeling away as though he had got the final touch.
It was now a real cup tie with the action flowing from end to end and some fierce challenges going in. Plymouth threw caution to the wind and started to get in behind the U’s and on 67 were back on level terms as the lively Josh Hutchinson beat Hill to a through ball and was tripped by the falling keeper’s gloves. Solomon Wheatley duly beat Hill from the spot to make it all square once again at 2-2.
Both sides had chances with Hill saving well from Allen and Udumaga’s free kick equally well saved at the other end. The difference was that when Udumaga’s shot came back off the keeper and wasn’t cleared Roberts was first to react. His first shot was blocked but he was alert to the situation, latched on to the ball once again, and drilled it left footed into the bottom right corner to make it 3-2 with his 15th goal in seven games.
Another excellent game full of youthful endeavour and good football. We can't wait for the next thrilling instalment.
United: Hill, Wright, Long, Niangasa, Lynn, O’Dowda, Ashby, Humphreys, Hughes, Udumaga, Roberts
Subs: Cavanagh, Woodley, Lathey, Martin, Lalor Dell