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Sparsholt College cruise into national semi-final
Sparsholt College 7 Yeovil College 0.
ESFA U18 National Trophy.
Sparsholt College moved effortlessly into the semi-finals of the ESFA U18 National Trophy with a crushing victory over Yeovil College on Friday.
With the Somerset college unable to provide a playable ground the tie was switched to Sparsholt and with the visitors having beaten fancied Hartbury College in the last round, coach Neil Benson was expecting a tough encounter but his young side were far too strong and now face Stanmore College of Harrow for a place in the national final against either St John Rigby College Wigan or Barnsley College.
The college groundstaff worked wonders to get the pitch playable although it was still heavy and the youngsters, 13 of whom are still first years, rose to the occasion.
Oli Bailey reacted well to a loose ball to put his side ahead and doubled the lead around the half hour after a good build up.
Five minutes later it was 3-0 and game over as Tommy Wright found the net which enabled Benson to utilise his full squad, with Ed Chappe and Charlie Gunson being lined up for Andover Town duty the following day.
Michael Donovan scored within two minutes of coming on and a David Jarrard special from 30 yards made it 5-0.
Londoner Robaggio Thomas got on the scoresheet late on before Callum Cuniffe-Pilley capped the performance with a stunning solo effort from half-way.
Benson was naturally delighted to have reached the last four, having got to the final four years ago.
“Man of the match was difficult but Tom Patterson has been asked to play at centre back and looked a natural in that position. We are delighted to be in the semi-final as 105 colleges entered and we are in the last four.”
The date and venue is yet to be decided but all options will be considered, including the possibility of the Portway.
It will be the ideal chance for the new Andover Town support to see the youngsters, almost all of whom are in the Town’s SW Counties side which play at Sparsholt on Saturday mornings.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, they are due to play a top of the table clash with Forest Green Rovers, kick-off 10.30am. Entrance is free and all are welcome.