Yate Town U18 2-3 Gloucester City U18 (MFYL)
Late winner sees Gloucester City retain the GFA U18 Shield
In their first attack, Gloucester sent in a deep cross from the right across the face of goal and, as Yate were unable to clear their lines, Cameron Williams took a touch to control and lashed in a half-volley at the near post. Yate shook themselves and settled quickly, building a fine move on 10 minutes through central midfield. Gianni Porcara fed Dylan Evans on the left who cut inside to lay a pass in towards Luke Henderson. He challenged well and as the ball spun forwards into space, he crashed in the leveller from just inside the box low into the bottom left corner for 1-1.
For a period, Gloucester were knocked out of their stride. Both sides wanted to play their football on the ground but as the half progressed, Yate became nervy in possession at times. They took the lead, however, from a free-kick out wide on the right. Evans looked poised to whip a ball into the mix but instead laid it back to Sam Knight just outside the area, whose low shot skipped off the surface, eluding the keeper's dive, and the ball nestled in the corner of the net.
As the battle for midfield control ebbed and flowed, Gloucester split the Yate defence down the middle, leaving them one-on-one but Mason Hawkins was swiftly off his line to close the space and make the block, before Evans at the other end drove a fine low cross to the near post, anticipated by Henderson but unlucky to see his slight touch just drift the wrong side of the upright.
Early after the restart, the unfortunate Hawkins spilled a Gloucester cross from the left and Elliott Roberts was able to smuggle the ball over the line at the back post for 2-2. This raised the holders' heads and they increasingly took the game to their counterparts, notably outpacing the defence in the right hand channel only to pull a shot across the goal-face.
Gloucester took the majority of possession and pressed hard for a third goal, driven by the impressive Noah Smerdon, but no further clear-cut chances were forthcoming as the game entered added time and the prospect of another penalty shoot-out looked likely, as in the 2015 showpiece, between these same two sides, to determine victory.
At 90 + 2, a superb match-winning cross from wide on Gloucester's left found Danny King in the 6-yard box who planted a firm header beyond Hawkins and, with barely a minute left, it proved to be the trophy winning moment. Overall, Gloucester proved to be deserved winnerson the balance of the game, although the timing of the winning goal was hard to take for the Yate lads, who had proved more than worthy opponents.