U18s advance in FA Youth Cup

By SFC Media Wed 11 Dec Bristol Rovers vs Saints
Photo by Isabelle Field | Sam Bellis & Caleb Watts
Wed 11 Dec 7.46PM
FA Youth Cup
Bristol Rovers
1
Southampton
3
Walker [84']
Jankewitz [47'] Bellis [58' 74']
Venue: Memorial Stadium | Attendance: 0

Southampton Under-18s advanced in the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers at Memorial Ground.

With Marco Rus denied by the offside flag and Jack Bycroft keeping the score level at the other end, Saints’ youngsters needed a strong second half performance to see off their determined opponents.

Wasting no time after the restart, Alex Jankewitz broke the deadlock in the 47th minute before Sam Bellis netted a brace to put the visitors in a commanding position.

Zain Walker netted a late consolation for the Gas, but it wasn’t enough to stop Southampton advancing into the last 32.

Looking to get off to a quick start after heading along the M4, Saints were the only side to register an attempt on goal in the opening 10 minutes.

With Jankewitz a willing runner from midfield, the Swiss latched onto a Seamas Keogh pass to fire wide from just inside the box as Paul Hardyman’s side made a positive start.

Acting as a warning, the deadlock should’ve been broken in the 16th minute, only for Caleb Watts to somehow miss the target from 18 yards after rounding goalkeeper Harry Thomas-Barker who’d raced from his line.

Caleb Watts shoots at goal (Photo: Isabelle Field)

Fortunate not to be trailing, Rovers almost made the visitors pay for their fruitless endeavours going forward, as Kieran Phillips’s volley was brilliantly tipped around the post by an alert Jack Bycroft at the midway point of the half.

Taking confidence from their first meaningful attack of the game, the hosts looked to swing the pendulum of momentum in their favour as Luca Hoole went close.

Rising highest to meet Ollie Hulbert’s wide free-kick, Bycroft was again on hand to parry away the danger.

Sensing the hosts’ growing hopes of a cup upset, Rus thought he’d broken the deadlock just past the half-hour mark when he emphatically volleyed home Keogh’s cross, only for the linesman’s flag to cut short the celebrations as an end-to-end affair began to emerge.

Continuing to spend plenty of time in the Rovers final third, Southampton remained unable to add a finishing touch as the referee’s half-time whistle blew to leave a second half with it all still to play for.

Mirroring their purposeful start to the opening 45 minutes, it took a little over 60 seconds for Saints to finally take the lead in the third round tie.

With Watts and James Morris linking up nicely on the left, the latter’s low cross was perfect for Jankewitz to drill into the roof of the net from close range.

Saints celebrate Alex Jankewitz's opening goal (Photo: Isabelle Field)

Sensing the opportunity to tighten their grip on proceedings, Hardyman’s side continued to fly forward and were soon awarded the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot.

When Bellis was felled by James Gorman after bursting into the box, the striker dusted himself off to slot down the middle from 12 yards.

Still not ready to settle for what they had, the visitors grabbed the game’s best goal as a flowing move from back to front, with eight quick passes, resulted in Bellis round the keeper and slotting home.

Now ticking into the final 10 minutes, Walker gave the home crowd of 509 something to cheer about by finding the back of the net from 20 yards, but there was to be no late comeback as Saints advanced in the FA Youth Cup.

Bristol Rovers

1
Harry Thomas-Barker (GK)
2
Luca Hoole
3
Levi Paul
4
Mason Raymond
George Fowler (73′)
5
Luc Noble (C)
6
James Gorman
7
Zain Walker
9
Kieran Phillips
10
Ollie Hulbert
16
Henry Njonjo
17
Kingsly Murray
Isiah Crawford (63′)
8
George Fowler
11
Isiah Crawford
14
Joe Budd
15
Adam Biss
19
Niall Lovelock
20
Jed Ward

Southampton

1
Jack Bycroft (GK)
2
Seamas Keogh
3
James Morris
4
Kegs Chauke
5
Pascal Kpohomouh (C)
Allan Tchaptchet (66′)
6
Sam Bailey
7
Marco Rus
Ramello Mitchell (73′)
8
Alex Jankewitz
9
Sam Bellis
10
Caleb Watts
Jack Turner (77′)
11
Kazeem Olaigbe
12
Allan Tchaptchet
13
Oliver Wright
14
Roland Idowu
15
Jack Turner
16
Ramello Mitchell
17
Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo
18
Jayden Smith
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