Boreham Wood Under 19s have progressed into the Quarter Finals of the National Cup, thanks to a 4-5 penalty shootout win over Maidstone United.
The score was 1-1 at full-time, thanks to goals from Jack Gibbs and Rhys Barlett, but the Wood confidently dispatched their penalties to confirm their place in the next round.
The Wood spurned an early chance to take the lead when Bradley Sach went one-on-one with the Maidstone stopper, but he was unable to hit the target.
Maidstone reacted well to this chance and would go on to dominate the next half an hour, before taking the lead.
A through ball from the Stones caused confusion amongst the Wood defence as Alex Radu and Gibbs were unable to deal with it. Barlett latched onto the pass and slotted passed Fred Burbidge.
Alex Morgan had a great chance to level before half time, when Sorba Thomas cut inside and whipped a cross in for the striker, but Morgan sent it over the woodwork.
Like the young Wood, Maidstone have impressed in their youth league this season, with an average of six-goals a game, as they currently sit in first place.
Manager Cameron Mawer regrouped his side at half time and they returned in search of a revival. Skippered by Bradley Sach, the young Wood spent almost the entirety of the second period in the Maidstone half. Sach forced wide from another chance, before Radu put a header past the post from six-yards.
The skipper did then have the ball in the net thanks to a powerful header, but was pulled back for offside.
With just four minutes remaining, Mawer pushed everyone forward and Jack Gibbs met a long-free kick, controlled the ball, and snuck it past the young Stones ‘keeper.
Two minutes later and the Wood could have netted a winner, but Ejike Akubude was stifled from close-range, as the ‘keeper leapt onto a loose ball.
The tie went straight to penalties, with Iliman Ndiaye, Thomas, Akubude, Gibbs and Tarrel Watson-Noel all firing home to confirm their place in the quater-final.
On the victory, Mawer commented: “I am really pleased because they showed a lot of character.
“Maidstone were the side that we played in the Champions’ Champions final last year, so we knew that they were going to be strong and we knew that they were going to be quite a big, physical side.
“They were technically very good and the first half an hour we were under a lot of pressure and had to show a lot of character, especially when we fell a goal down.
“The boys managed to regroup and probably for 60 minutes, we were by far the better side and we created a lot of chances. But, I was concerned as to whether we were going to take those chances.
“In the end, Jack Gibbs managed to get what we deserved. Penalty shootouts are never nice, they are always a lottery, but the boys managed to come through it, so I am very pleased.
“We are in the quarter finals now and obviously we lost this one last year in the final, so the squad have got the bit between their teeth to try and put that right, after coming so close last time.
“It is a real prestigious tournament and there is a lot of belief gathering within the squad, so hopefully we can kick on.”
The Wood: Burbidge, Walsh, Gibbs, Watson-Noel, Meszanos, Radu, Morgan, Pepper, Sach, Ndiaye, Thomas
Subs: Akubude, Wint, Challis
Could you be involved in this tournament next year? The PASE Academy are holding trials on Tuesday, February 13 (9.30am). For more information on the PASE Academy or to register please call the PASE office on 020 8953 5716 or visit https://www.borehamwoodfootballclub.co.uk/how-to-apply-pase/.