Under the Memorial Stadium lights on Friday, the U16s lifted the Severn Bridge Cup trophy having beaten local rivals Bristol City 1-0 in a highly competitive and intense affair.
The U16s have beaten Newport County and Cardiff City in both home and away legs to set up the fixture vs their arch rivals. This is now the second year running that the U16s have lifted the trophy.
Rovers started the game well, proving difficult to break down, and the players got themselves into good areas when attacking, either from hitting their opponents on the counter or building patiently.
This led to the only goal of the game after just eight minutes, with Joe Budd regaining possession in midfield, before playing a left-footed diagonal pass to Kinsley Murray out on the right. Having beaten his opponent Murray pulled back for the on rushing Budd who followed his pass with a late run into the box scoring with a calm finish.
In the later stages of the first half, City began to apply some pressure, with a couple of chances coming from some individual errors but as we approached half time the players composed themselves well to go into the break with the lead.
The second half was very intense, with City having more of the ball and controlling possession, though, through the grit and determination shown defensively from the boys, particularly from the likes of Adam Biss and Sam Heal, the opponents' possession proved little threat to Jed Ward and his goal. As the half progressed, the players fought brilliantly till the end and were unlucky not to have extended their lead with a couple of chances created at the death.
“It’s been a successful season for the boys, and they thoroughly deserved to finish on such a high, beating Bristol City in a cup final at The Mem in front of approximately 500 spectators. It’s a fantastic experience for all involved, something that these young players will always remember," said Daf Williams, Lead Youth Development Phase 15s-16s Coach.
"The U16 players who have received scholars and will join the U18s next season showed quality and maturity throughout. Also involved was a number of U15s, one U14, and our sub Goalkeeper who’s a U13. They will learn so much from the experience, and it’s great for their development moving forward.”
“It wasn’t a pretty spectacle, however the way the boys represented this football club, as they have all season in fairness, was fantastic. The non-negotiables were there for everyone to witness, and they fought ever so hard to get a well-deserved victory.”
Rovers XI: Jed Ward (GK), Zak Ford, Niall Lovelock, Adam Biss, Ben Baxter, Henry Njonjo, Joe Budd, Sam Heal (C), Kinsley Murray, Owen Brain, Harvey Greenslade.
Subs: Ross Mason (GK), Sid Partridge, Risuna Mabasa, Evander Grubb, Ben Courtier