Basford United into FA Cup first round proper

Basford United’s academy progressed to the First Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup for a second straight year with a penalty shoot-out win over Halesowen Town on Wednesday night.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 7:19 am
United scholars celebrate Lewis Rourke's opener against Halesowen (IMAGE: Mick Gretton)

Lewis Rourke had put his side one up just before the hour with a sumptuous header before Jordan Haywood added a second from the penalty spot after Kiarn Nyemba was tripped.

Jack Fletcher pulled one back for West Midlands side and Papy Brandon-Mussini sent the tie straight to the obligatory shoot-out in the dying seconds.

However, ‘keeper Gianni Musson was the hero, repeating his exploits of yesteryear by saving Town’s first penalty before Rourke sealed another memorable night for United’s youth.

“I think for 85 minutes we were brilliant,” Academy manager Josh Law said. “We controlled it and sustained attacks; we went on attack after attack but without that killer finish which happens sometimes.

“When it doesn’t happen, you have to be locked up at the back and you’ve got to be ready to manage the game and it’s a big learning curve for the lads by getting away with it – for the last 5 minutes of the game we weren’t good enough in our box.

“We end up with a two all draw and there’s a chance that we go out of the cup,” he added.

“Again, they’re young kids, they’re learning, they’ve done excellently on the back of their Youth Cup run last year; an unbelievable achievement but it’s a big learning curve for a talented group here.”

In a game of two halves, the first of which yielded very little goal mouth action, despite the home side dominating for the vast majority with Nyemba, Rory Harrison and Harvey Ridgely all sharing early chances which failed to trouble Noah Jones.

The visiting ‘keeper had to be at his best to prevent Rourke opening the scoring five minutes before the break, denying the striker at point-blank range to keep his side level and was at it again after the break to tip Josh Timson’s curling effort wide.

Despite the frustration, the relentless home pressure continued, and Rourke finally put United ahead when he glanced home Haywood’s exceptional cross just before the hour.

Not to be outdone, skipper Haywood – fresh from signing his first senior contract at the club – then coolly dispatched a second from the spot after Nyemba was clumsily felled and progress looked certain.

A hatful of wasted opportunities then went begging for Law’s young batch and a nervous eleven minutes were on the cards when substitute Fletcher tucked home to halve the deficit.

Jones left his best until last, stopping Rourke when one-on-one with a fine low save and Brandon-Mussini sent the travelling Yeltz fans into raptures when he passed into an empty net with seconds spare, despite Musson’s exceptional save from Jake Wood’s stinging strike.

The lottery of a shoot-out is always daunting, but Musson guessed right to save Town’s first from Izyri Kouruyianni after Haywood put United in front.

Each penalty thereafter was put away, and it was left to Rourke to send Jones the wrong way and confirm United’s name in the hat for Friday’s draw.

BASFORD UNITED (from): Gianni Musson, Harvey Ridgley, Louis Nicholson, Romar Suban, Callum Frogson, Jordan Haywood (C), Rory Harrison, Nathaniel Peters, Kiarn Nyemba, Lewis Rourke, Josh Timson, Nassor Abdullah, Tyler Dacres, Lui Bull, Sam Newell, Josh Gullet, Jericho Bonner, Ryan Camm (GK)

HALESOWEN TOWN (from): Noah Jones, Ewan Edwards, Papy Brandon-Mussini, Dexter Dudley-Toole, Michael Kouruyianni, Zakir Islam, Taylor Humen, Jake Wood, Izyri Kouruyianni, Ethan Edwards, Ryan Snape, Joseph Griffiths, Sean Tuckley, Jack Fletcher