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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, April 11th 2019

Report: Slimbridge AFC 1-3 City Under-23s

Late goals from Marcus Day and Ricardo Rees ensured City Under-23s booked their place in the final of the GFA Senior Challenge Cup, with a 3-1 win away to Slimbridge AFC.

Luke Williams’ young Robins went ahead early on after Max Williams fired into the top corner.

Slimbridge levelled when Danny King’s goal-bound effort was deflected into his own net by Kieran Smith and the game looked destined for penalties.

That was until injury-time drama when Day - pictured - and Rees both struck to send City into the final, where they will face the winners of Cinderford Town and Forest Green Rovers Under-23s.

Current-holders City travelled to Slimbridge's Thornhill Park and started off the brighter side, with Rees coming close to getting on the end of a Day pass.

And with their first meaningful attack, City took the lead when Sam Pearson laid the ball off to Williams, whose effort nestled in the top corner.

Zac Smith came close to doubling City’s advantage shortly after, but his long-range effort was just wide of the Slimbridge post.

With the exception of the goal, there weren’t many chances for either side in the opening half but has half-timed neared City would create a couple of chances through Josh Owers and an a saved shot from Pearson.

In the second half, the home side started out better than City and had their equaliser inside ten minutes of the restart. King’s shot looked like it was heading in, before Smith deflected the ball into the back of the net.

Pearson and Day both came close to putting City back in front with Pearson’s curling an effort from range just over, before Day’s skilful run ended with his shot being saved.

With four minutes of additional play added on it seemed like the semi-final would be heading towards penalties but Day has other ideas. City were back in the lead late on when the ball fell kindly for the attacker, who brilliantly curled into the top corner.

Before the game’s end, however, City added a third. With a number of Slimbridge players searching for an equaliser, City broke forward and Rees powered a shot beyond Lewis to seal the icing on the cake.

City’s youngsters have booked a place in the final, but will turn their attention to their final league game of the season on Monday (April 15th), as they welcome Birmingham City to Ashton Gate.

City Under-23s: Buse, K.Smith, Webb, Low (Harper), H.Smith, Z.Smith, Pearson, Owers, Rees, Williams (Bell), Day. Unused subs: Robertson, Taylor.

Words: Ryan Payne

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