A brace from Jack Bray was the difference between Town and Rochdale in the FA Youth Cup as Rory McArdle's side came from behind to win.
A hard-fought performance from the visitors saw them leave the Crown Oil Arena in anticipation of a Round Two trip to Northampton.
Town made three changes to the lineup from the team that won away at Huddersfield last week going into this FA Youth cup fixture. All the lads came into the match in high spirits after seeing the draw against Rochdale. Giving their thoughts in midweek, all players knew going into this one it would be a tough matchup and respecting their opponent.
Knowing the importance of the FA Youth cup, the lads were hungry to go as far as possible in the competition. Jack Bray described it “as the highlight of everyone’s season.”
There was a patient tempo to the game in the opening 10 minutes with both teams happy to have possession of the ball and play themselves into the game knowing what’s at stake.
Shortly after the quarter of an hour mark, Rochdale took the lead following a set piece. A floated ball into the box was pinballing around the six-yard box in which Adam Pow attempted to clear, however the ball cannoned off the Rochdale winger Oscar Kelly and resulted in the net rippling. He knew not much about it and nor did Mooney in the Town goal.
It didn’t take Town long to respond as on 22 minutes, following a corner, Bray had the ball at his feet and performed a cute Cruyff turn to then be hacked down. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Bray stepped up and converted his penalty opting to go straight down the middle as the keeper dived to his left.
After the half-time whistle both teams came out raring to go, and in the 49th minute, Bray notched his second of the game with a simple tap in from point blank range. It was a well-worked move prior to goal stemming from the left wing and cutting it back at the by-line before being converted home.
From there on in, chances were few and far between in the second half with Rochdale not posing much threat to Mooney’s goal.
Not all was dull though in the closing stages of the game, with Rochdale forward Darren Ehimamiegho being shown a straight red card for lashing out at Alfie Lee. It was a moment of madness as he let his frustration get the better of him. It didn’t do his team any favours who were left a man down and a goal down in the final 15 minutes.
After showing got resilience at the back and a real desire to win, Town saw out the victory to see them win 2-1.