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Academy News

McCann update after Aylestone game

4 November 2021

Academy manager Jordan McCann says the U18s will learn from the experience of their FA Youth Cup first-round game against Aylestone Park.

A dramatic match provided a real test for the club's younger players and ended 4-4 after extra-time, with the Imps losing out in a penalty shootout.

McCann said: “When you don’t do the basics right and don’t defend your box well enough you can get punished at any level and credit to Aylestone they punished us.

"But it’s important not to get too low in these moments and to see it in context. This result has come off the back of a good week or so for the Academy, with Freddie Draper making three first team appearances and our individual based approach will continue as we try to get the most out of each player’s development."

The Imps started the game brightly with chances from Jovon Makama and Draper not being converted within the first seven minutes, a theme that seemed to prolong throughout the game.

Oisin Gallagher’s brilliant free-kick broke the deadlock after 16 minutes, with the Irish youngster curling the over the wall and into a top corner from 25 yards.

Chances followed for the Imps as the Aylestone keeper got down well to keep out Draper once more, and shortly after Theo Mussell saw his shot at the back post blocked as Aylestone escaped going 2-0 down.

Five minutes from time Draper was released in behind by Mussell and rounded the keeper, forcing him wider than he would have hoped. The resulting cross fell to Tayo Alexander-Tucker at the back post who had a tough task finishing the chance and saw his shot blocked.

City's Billy Brooks picked out Alexander-Tucker nicely on the left-hand side early in the second-half, resulting in the defender conceding a penalty and giving the Imps the opportunity to make it two.

Draper, in confident mood after involved in the first-team squad three times in just over a week, stepped up and slotted the ball home comfortably beating the keeper in the bottom left corner.

Aylestone pullied one back after 54 minutes when a cross from the right deflected to the edge of the box and was finished neatly into the top right corner.

The home continued to put on the pressure as a couple of lapses in concentration almost let the home side in, and in the 72nd minute they got the equaliser they were looking for. A free-kick from the edge of the box looped over the defence and was headed in at the back post.

The following 15 minutes saw play go back and forth, with the match looking increasingly likely to go to extra-time as both sides failed to create anything clear cut.

That changed in the 90th minute as the home side moved down the left side and cut in, hitting the ball at Hayden Cann and the deflection taking it past Paddy Boylan in goal.

It seemed to be over for the Imps, but the young side showed grit to not give up and fight for an equaliser at the death.

A wide free kick two minutes into time added on was headed down and the back post and bundled in by Jovon Makama, completing an unbelievable five minutes of football to send the game into the extra half-hour.

The first period of extra time was rather quiet in comparison, just the one chance fell for City as the home side blocked a succession of shots off the line. In the 114th minute Kyrell Wheatley won the ball in midfield and noticed Brooks had set off in behind the Aylestone centre-backs.

The ball was slid through, and Brooks made no mistake, subtly lifting the ball over the keeper and into the net.

The home side refused to give up, responding by attacking down the left wing and crossing across the box, the effort at the back post was blocked by Cann and fell to the opposition player's feet in the six-yard box and the ball was slotted past Boylan to sending us to penalties.

With the home side converting three times from the spot they were 3-1 victors.

 


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