League One has been rather disappointing this month so I’m looking forward to some cup excitement from tonight’s match. There’s a real possibility of us getting to Wembley and that’s surely something that will spur the lads on. The last round against Newcastle’s U 21’s turned out to be a stroll in the park in the end but I doubt very much if this evening’s game will be the same. I imagine Man City’s U 16’s would be a force to be reckoned with so I’m sure their side tonight will be a handful. We haven’t got a game this Saturday so I think we’ll be fielding a strong side and I hope Kimpioka will be on for as long as possible. I’ve a feeling we’ll get through but it may well be on penalties so I’ll just say that my prediction is a win.
I got the match on SAFSEE and Nick Barnes said there were around twelve thousand in the stadium. Not surprisingly I didn’t know any of the Man City side but two of them were sixteen and one seventeen. We had Watmore and Kimpioka starting and Ruiter was in goal. Oviedo was also getting a run-out – I haven’t heard any transfer stories about him and thought he’d be off. It was a rather uneventful first ten minutes but we had the better of the attacking moves though at one point O’Nien had to tell Kimpioka just to calm down a bit as he was acting too rashly. Man City started to sound very comfortable and there wasn’t much noise coming from the crowd. It sounded like Newcastle Road Baths to me. There were half -hearted shouts for a penalty when Kimpioka went down and just afterwards Catts picked up the first yellow of the evening; no surprises there then. In the twenty-second minute we took the lead after McGeouch created the chance for Watmore and he rolled it across the keeper and into the bottom left corner. The crowd finally perked up. McGeouch and Watmore combined well again but Grimshaw in goal saved well. Oviedo hit the bar with a free-kick and we were sounding well on top with ten minutes to go to the break. Five minutes after that Ruiter caught the ball confidently and that was good in itself but it was also the first time I’d heard him mentioned for a very long time. Co commentator Gary Bennett suggested that we take Catts off before he got himself red-carded and replace him with Ethan Robson. It remained 1-0 at the break and it was a case of so far, so good.
In the opening stages of the second-half Man City upped their tempo and were running things for a while during which it was announced that of the 14,679 present only 96 were away fans. Meanwhile Portsmouth, whose match had started earlier, had already qualified for the semis so I hoped we’d be playing them later, in the final, and getting revenge. Our first real attempt of the half was an O’Nien shot that went just wide of the angle of bar and post. On the hour-mark we brought on Gooch for Watmore and he didn’t take long to make his impact as he scored with a left foot shot to put us 2-0 ahead after more good work by McGeouch. An O’Nien effort almost made it 3-0 but Grimshaw grabbed it eventually in what sounded like a McLaughlin-Bradford match style. Gary Bennett said Man City were trying to walk the ball into the net and though their wide men looked good going forwards, they didn’t put the ball inside. Ozturk got a very rare mention in the seventieth minute and that backed up what Gary had just said. Ethan Robson replaced Catts and the latter got a warm ripple. Robson immediately created a chance for Kimpioka and was really throwing himself into the game. O’Nien was also having a real go too and he had a number of goal-scoring chances. We saw the game out without Man City really threatening and next thing we were in the semis along with Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers and Bury. Bury at home in the semis and then Portsmouth at Wembley? That would do me.