Under-21s turn on the style

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While the first team were winning at Heybridge Swifts on Tuesday night, Blues under-21s were just down the road beating Maldon & Tiptree from Ryman League North 5-1 in a hastily arranged friendly to give some of the home side’s players and a few trailists a game.

Stortford’s started the game on the front foot and playing at a high tempo created several half chances in the first 20 minutes before John Nzengo, a thorn in the oppositions side all night, was brought down in the area after beating several men. From the resulting penalty Raphael Duah calmly put the visitors ahead.

For the final 15 minutes of the half Blues lost their way and allowed Maldon back into the match and they enjoyed their best spell of the game with constant pressure applied on the young Stortford side. Shortly before half time ‘The Jammers’ equalised from a poorly defended free kick.

However after a bit of a regroup at half-time the young Blues came out and put together 45 minutes of complete football that belied their young ages and lack inexperience. It was soon 2-1 after great feet from John Bricknell resulted in a second penalty when he was brought down after turning his marker inside out. Duah again calmly stoked home the penalty despite the admirable efforts of the home keeper.

The visitors were really starting to play expansive open football and from another free flowing move involving several players the ball was crossed from the right hand side and Sam Ashford arriving from midfield headed home superbly to put his side 3-1 ahead.

The fourth goal followed shortly after and started with a quickly taken free kick in the Stortford’s own half and several quick passes later Nzengo turned his marker, cut inside and curled home into the bottom corner. From the time of the ref blowing for the foul in Stortford’s own half to the time of the ball in the back of Maldon’s net was less than 10 seconds such was the speed of the young Blues awareness to the opportunity whilst the home side were trying to regroup.

The fifth and final goal was another great team move with Ben Smith and Nzengo combining delightfully down the right before Smith, a product Blues’ academy who has just signed first team forms, finished in style.

Blues had a few more chances to add to the scoreline but can be rightly pleased with themselves for a very good performance against a much more experienced and physical side.

Author: Dave Ryan