Bradford City 2
Webb-Foster 18, Waters 87
FA Youth Cup second round
Tuesday 11 November, 2014
By Tim Penfold
Goals from Reece Webb-Foster and Jack Waters ensured that Bradford City’s U18 side got past Barnsley to set up a mouthwatering FA Youth Cup third round tie against Liverpool. The Bantams achieved this despite playing for 65 minutes with only 10 men, after Joe Brennan’s red card.
City went into the game as notional underdogs, as Barnsley’s academy is ranked as Category Two, one rung higher than the hosts. Barnsley also fielded James Bree, who has already played 12 times for their first XI and started against City in the 3-1 defeat at Oakwell last month, whereas Reece Webb-Foster was the only Bantam with any first team experience.
However, City started much the brighter, with Dylan Mottley-Henry hitting the side netting after just three minutes, and the Barnsley keeper was forced into saves from both Mottley-Henry and Webb-Foster. Joe Brennan also headed narrowly wide, whilst Barnsley barely got out of their own half.
A goal was coming, and when it came it was magnificent. A long pass from James Pollard at the back picked out Webb-Foster, whose touch and finish were Bergkampesque. It was a deserved goal, and at that point it seemed not a question of if the Bantams would win, but how many by. Mottley-Henry’s pace was causing the Barnsley defence no end of problems, and Callum Chippendale’s link up play and trickery was creating space and chances.
On 25 minutes, the game suddenly changed. Brennan slid in for a tackle on Barnsley centre-back Mason Holgate, and there was a reaction afterwards. Both players squared up, and Brennan appeared to shove Holgate in the face. It was an instant red card, and an utterly needless one.
The Bantams immediately reorganised into a 4-4-1, with Chippendale taking Brennan’s place on the left, and retreated into their own half, challenging Barnsley to break them down. This was a challenge that the Tykes singularly failed to rise to for the rest of the half, with no shots on target at all, and Webb-Foster came close to making it 2-0 with an ambitious 45 yard effort which the Barnsley keeper had to be alert to claim. Barnsley lacked any real creativity in the middle, and the Bantams back line, marshalled well by the superb Pollard, held out comfortably.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, with the 10-man Bantams defending well against the Tykes, who only looked as if they had players missing. It took 70 minutes for their first shot on target, which trickled slowly into the arms of Elliott Barker, although they did have a couple of other decent chances which went over.
City were taking every opportunity to slow the game down, but did threaten occasionally on the counter, with Mottley-Henry looking dangerous every time he got the ball.
On 84 minutes Barnsley had their best chance yet, with a suspiciously offside-looking Louis Wardle chipping over when clean through. City responded by making a defensive change, with Chippendale being replace on the left hand side of midfield by defender Jack Waters, clearly intended to tighten up the City defence and see the game out. On 87 minutes, Mottley-Henry got free down the right and floated a fine cross to the far post, where Waters’ header, his first touch, found the top corner and sealed City’s passage to round three.
There was still stoppage time to deal with, but the second goal had taken what fight Barnsley had left out of them, and City saw out a surprisingly comfortable win. They had displayed impressive attacking fluidity with 11 men, and tremendous determination and discipline to see the game out with 10.
Liverpool will definitely need to be at their best to get past them.
City: Barker, Jenkinson, King, Pollard, Kershaw, Mottley-Henry, Devine, Wright, Brennan (red card 25), Chippendale (Waters 85), Webb-Foster (Cissa 77)
Categories: Match Reviews