FA Youth Cup Report: Swindon 1 Manchester City 4

Swindon were unable to cause an upset against former Town man Alex Henshall and co. as the reds crashed out of the FA Youth cup in the fourth round writes Lee Townsend.

Looking at the team sheet before the game, Alex Henshall was not the only notable name in the Manchester City side. The sons of Bryan Gunn – Angus – and Andy Cole – Davante – were both in the starting line up. Swindon fielded the same starting XI that began in the previous three successful rounds.

The game started as it usually does for the Swindon U18s with a chance for Miles Storey, but he was unable to steer the ball on target.

It nearly cost Swindon dearly and it probably should have. A few moments later, Henshall’s shot from the left was parried by Leigh Bedwell to the feet of Cole. His shot beat the keeper but Aaron Oakley somehow knocked the ball over the bar.

Unfortunately for Swindon, the following corner did result in a goal. A scrapped shot was saved by Bedwell, only for another shot by Jordy Mayifuila to find the net. Swindon had the bodies there but no-one reacted in time to keep the ball out.

At this point Manchester City kept the ball for long periods of time. Swindon did get the ball with Storey at one stage, but his cross was towards the box with no red shirts available.

After yet more long periods of Manchester City passing, suddenly Henshall broke away with quite some pace down the left side and his cross was met by Cole. Although the first shot was brilliantly saved by Bedwell, he had no such luck in stopping the second strike.

2-0 down and Swindon were being dominated. City looked happy passing until Henshall burst into another fantastic run down the left and his cross was swept home by Adam Drury. It was an excellent attacking goal for the sky blues and sections of the home crossed clapped in appreciation for their quality of football.

At this point, Swindon fans were fearing the worst. 3-0 down inside the half-hour and City looked very dangerous. However, before half-time the home crowd are given a glimmer of hope.

From a cleared corner, the ball fell to Luke Murden well outside the area. Only two men thought of the shot. My friend next to me and Luke Murden himself and it proved to be one hell of an idea! His 35-yard+ shot found the net in spectacular fashion and the 1,600 fans sounded their appreciation for the first time.

Just before the break, Chris Sim had the same idea. His long range shot dipped at the last moment before striking the cross bar and agonisingly over.

Optimism rang around the Arkell’s stand at the start of the second half but unfortunately Swindon couldn’t live up to the hope. A cross from Drury on the right was sadly hacked into the net by Aaron Oakley for an own goal just before the hour mark, killing off any hope Swindon had of a come back. His body shape was all wrong and there was nothing he could do but steer it into the far corner beyond the dive of Bedwell.

It was a real shame as it not only killed off Swindon’s chances but also killed off the game entirely. Substitute Mark Francis had a chance in the box at one stage for the reds but he missed the ball entirely and then scuffed a second attempt wide.

In my area of the stand, at least, most of the fans also lost interest. Three very annoying children were more occupied with kicking seats and seeing who can squeek “Come on Swindon” more than the other. No parents in site near them by the way! It was also very surprising to see so many leave on the hour mark. However, they actually didn’t miss anything…

Louis Thompson – who has featured on the Town first XI bench recently – was substituted off late into the match and it made me realise how he really couldn’t get into the game tonight. He looked brilliant in the previous rounds but unfortunately was out done by a far superior City team tonight, as were the rest of the entire team.

Alex Henshall came off with minutes to go and, for me, was Man of the Match. Completely sliced open Swindon’s defense down the left and constantly looked dangerous. Also a special mention should go to Adam Drury down the right, who also caused Swindon a huge amount of problems.

So unfortunately Swindon are out of the FA Youth Cup at the 4th round. Although the 1-4 scoreline was a harsh way to exit the competition, they were out classed by one of the strongest youth teams, who will surprise many if they don’t go on to win the tournament this year.


Swindon: 1 – Luke Murden ’36

  1. Leigh Bedwell
  2. Luke Murden
  3. Chris Sim
  4. Aaron Oakley
  5. Joe Chapman
  6. Eddie Stevens (Mark Francis ’58)
  7. Louis Thompson (Jake Simpson ’81)
  8. Harry Grant (C)
  9. Ben Whiteheaid
  10. Miles Storey
  11. Alex Ferguson (Connor Waldon ’46)

Subs not used: 13. Conor Thompson, 14. Aaron Ferris

Manchester City 4 – Mayifulia ‘8, Cole ’26, Drury ’29, Oakley (OG) ’58

  1. Angus Gunn
  2. Luke Coulson
  3. Courtney Meppan-Walters
  4. Ellis Plummer
  5. Greg Leigh
  6. George Evans (Hutton ’58)
  7. Adam Drury (c)
  8. Albert Rusnak
  9. Davante Cole
  10. Jordy Mayifulia
  11. Alex Henshall (*) (King ’88)

Subs not used: 12. Paul Clowes, 13. Ian Lawlor, 16. George Glendon

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