Hats off to Whetstone, says Blank
PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND ONE
AC WHETSTONE 2 OAKWOOD A 4
Ric Blank says AC Whetstone deserve a huge amount of credit for the part they played in this thriller - they lead for 65 minutes, but in the end the Premier Division outfit progressed.
The in-form Oaks of the Premier Division were given a scare by third division AC Whetstone, but three goals in the final third of the tie sent them through.
A double from Sam Jacobson and one apiece from Anthony Kintish and Josh Rose did the business.
Dan Cohen and the evergreen Laurence Swerner registered for Oakwood.
Blank gave an honest assessment of the match and says he was hugely impressed by the wonder kids from Division Three. He told JC Sport: "Though we won, today was all about Whetstone. They gave us an almighty fright and as a team of young players (under-16's) should be proud of how they performed. They were the better team in the first half and only a triple sub in the second half combined with some greater urgency saw us in the hat for the next round.
"We made changes today but still had a very strong 11 - all players hoping to be starting next week at Brady. When we went 1-0 up through Kintish, I think the players thought it was game over. Instead Whetstone equalised when Bentley and Peters got in each other's way and the lad hammered the ball back with interest into the top corner from 20 yards. Goal of the week for me. Whetstone were the better side for the rest of the half and we were grateful to go into the break at 1-1."
The start of the second half was much of the same with some overplaying in the corner on a terrible pitch resulting in Whetstone going ahead through Swerner. Oakwood managed to show some character and dug deep to turn the game around and Rose equalised with a thunderous shot that left the keeper with no chance.
Jacobson made it 3-2 from a corner before missing a penalty to seal the game. Oakwood were in control now and Jacobson made it 4-2 with a brilliant curling finish from the edge of the box.
Blank continued: "The aim is always just to be in the hat for the next round - but we did it the hard way today. The workrate in the first half simply wasn't there. Players were ambling around half cut and it told in their performance. But we've learnt a valuable lesson and I promise you a very different oakwood next week at Brady."
ACW joint-manager Clive Nathan told JC Sport: "Although we lost I was incredibly proud of all our boys. We were down to bare bones today and I feared a mauling by a Premier League team in good form. In fact we were 2-1 ahead with 35 minutes to play and everyone who played gave everything.
"Our first goal by 17-year-old Dan Cohen was the most wonderful strike and our second by 51-year-old Lol Swerner was the type of poacher's goal he has been scoring all his career. Surely the gap in age between our goalscorers must be a Peter Morrison record?