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Battling Badgers’ historic FA Youth Cup run ends with extra-time heartbreaker

Brockenhurst U18s captain Leo Colmer
Brockenhurst U18s captain Leo Colmer

FA Youth Cup Second Round

Newport County AFC U18s 3Brockenhurst FC U18s 2

BROCKENHURST U18s’ historic FA Youth Cup campaign came to an end with a thrilling 3-2 extra-time defeat to elite club Newport County in Wales on Saturday.

The young Badgers made history this season in qualifying for the FA Youth Cup first and second rounds for the first time in their history. Brockenhurst came back twice to level the match, but the third goal in extra-time saw Newport County progress.

Zack Maher broke the deadlock with a tidy finish past Brockenhurst shot-stopper Ben Puleu thanks to a Harrison Bright assist. Brockenhurst had a goal disallowed for offside, and Newport cleared the ball off their line as the first-half drew to a close.

The second-half kicked off with Newport in the ascendancy and Puleu tipping more than one goal-bound effort over his crossbar. Number seven Samuel Shearer levelled the match with a good finish before Charlie Bullock restored Newport’s lead.

Two minutes later, Bourhane Maatoug made it 2-2. Both sides had chances to win it, but the game went to extra time. With just three minutes left, Ethan Morgan puts the home side ahead to break Badgers’ hearts.

After the match, Brockenhurst U18s manager Adam Colmer said: “I’ve got nothing but pride today. The boys have done me, themselves and the club proud. To play against a professional club academy who train every day, including throughout November when we had to stop due to lockdown, and take them to the dying moments of extra time is a massive achievement.

“The match was extremely close, which shows what a talented group of players this is. To get to the second round proper and make history for the club is something that we’ll all treasure, especially if you look at the list of famous clubs that we lasted longer in the competition than.”

To make it to the second round proper, Brockenhurst defeated Portchester, Poole Town, Kidlington and Truro City.

Brockenhurst: B. Puleo, C. Ings, L. Colmer, J. Booth, D. Grace, C. Brady, C. Hawkins, S. Shearer, B. Maatoug, J. Evans, L. Nixon. Subs: K. Hall, T. Colmer, B. Dukes, I. Ebejer, I. Evans, B. Hillier, Vic Leca.

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