Basford's FA Youth Cup dream ends with defeat to West Brom
Basford United’s memorable FA Youth Cup run came to a crushing end on Wednesday after they went down 4-0 to West Bromwich Albion.
Jovan Malcolm’s header and a stunning long-distance brace from Zak Ashworth gave the Baggies’ a commanding half-time lead before Rico Richards’ neat turn and finish rounded off the scoring ten minutes from time.
“We’re immensely proud, regardless of the result,” manager Josh Law said.
“It was our seventh game just to get to this stage and it’s been such a tough run – every single tie we’ve had has been hard in their own way, especially with the eight-week layoff we’ve had to endure as a non-elite club.
“To return to training at such a late stage and to put in that kind of performance against a top West Brom outfit, with only two weeks of training under their belts, is testament to this side and their characters as individuals.”
Albion went ahead after only seven minutes when a left-alone Malcom headed home Tom Fellows’ dangerous corner from six yards out and Peter Gilbert’s side soon doubled their lead when a dipping effort from the stand-out Ashworth whistled past Ryan Camm in the home goal after a quarter of an hour.
United – who defeated league sides Port Vale and Grimsby Town en-route to this stage – nearly succumbed to another three minutes later when Richards nipped in but was denied by Jordan Haywood, though the tie was put beyond doubt before the half hour mark when another Ashworth effort from range flew past Camm for a third.
Ferdinand Bartley registered the home side’s first chance on goal just before the break when he fired wide from an angle after good work down the left by Wayde Hines and Lewis Rourke, before Camm thwarted Richards with a superb one-handed stop after he ghosted around three.
Camm again denied Richards before preventing Fellows with a fierce hit just after the interval as he played his part in providing some admirability to the scoreline.
Some complacency from the Premier League side allowed Law’s men with some half-chances of their own mid-way through the second period.
Firstly, Rourke became the beneficiary of some half-hearted defending as he got in behind but lacked the composure needed and his shot floated harmlessly over Jamie Emery’s net.
Hines then picked up a lazy pass inside by Ethan Ingram and his audacious lob from all of 45-yards dropped narrowly wide – with Emery well beaten – as the visitors’ inquest into a poor spell began.
Despite their valiant efforts and endeavour throughout, however, the opportunities were as good as it got for the non-leaguers and the scoring was rounded off by Richards late on when he did well to hold off George Sharman before rolling the ball past Camm for a fourth, moments after he struck the foot of the post.
“We knew were playing against a top side and going three goals down early on - sometimes it takes that to get your second wind,” Law added.
“We tweaked a couple of areas which we thought were needed. In areas, we were a little too deep, so we managed to push our forwards on a little bit more and got the wingbacks a little bit higher, but it was tough.
“We’ve hardly played any minutes since the Grimsby game two-and-a-half months ago, so we couldn’t ask for much more from them.
“We had a ten or 15-minute spell in the second half where we may have looked like scoring and we had a few chances and from there you never know, but they’re a top-class outfit who featured a few from their under 23 side, which shows great respect towards us.
“Our lads have now seen that level and they’ve shown for large parts of that game that they can compete against that sort of opposition and can hold their own – they’re a credit to themselves and this football club.”
BASFORD UNITED: Ryan Camm, Ferdinand Bartley, Louis Nicholson, George Sharman, Callum Frogson, Jordan Haywood, Rory Harrison, Sam Newell, Lewis Rourke (Jericho Bonner 73’), Wayde Hines (Aaron Wainana 89’), Nathaniel Peters
SUBS (not used): Jacob Taylor, Rio Joseph, Jermaine Hollingworth, Romar Suban (GK)
WBA: Jamie Emery, Ethan Ingram (Vinnie Dwyer 72’), Caleb Taylor, Ryan Grant, Lino Da Sova, Tom Fellows, Tim Iroegbunam (Aurio Texeixeia 57’), Zak Ashworth, Rico Richards, Mo Faal (Reyes Cleary 70’), Jovan Malcolm
SUBS (not used): Jacob Shepherd, Reece Hall, Josh Shaw, Maksy Boruk (GK)
CAUTIONS: Ashworth (foul 69’)