Report from the youth team's Youth Alliance Cup Northern Section Quarter Final encounter with Macclesfield Town...
Notts County youth team deservedly booked their place in the Semi-Final of the Youth Alliance Cup Northern Section with a 3-0 win over Macclesfield Town youth team. A quick-fire trio before the break put the Magpies out of sight and set up a meeting with Walsall in the next round.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the opening stages but Notts gradually gained the upper hand. Forward Romello Nangle rifled high and wide and Kyle Dixon watched a shot swerve away from the top-left corner with the best of the early efforts.
The visitors were restricted to long-range attempts, as County remained organised and put in a number of strong challenges to restrict the Silkmen in the final third. The Magpies looked dangerous with every attack and they moved in front in the 21st minute, when midfielder Elliott Hodge's right-wing cross was glanced inside the left-hand post by centre-back Kieran Geldenhuys - a top-class header.
This was the first of three goals inside three minutes, as Notts continued to push forward at pace. Striker Malachi Lavelle-Moore was next to find the net, when he swept home Hodge's low centre from the left byline.
Dixon's goal was arguably the pick of the three, a stunning strike that curled away from the goalkeeper, into the top-right corner. The skipper had crafted the opportunity himself, having carved open the Macclesfield defence with a surging run from midfield, and celebrated the goal in front of the onlooking first team squad.
It may have been 4-0 before the break, as the away rearguard struggled to cope with the relentless County onslaught. Nangle had a low drive denied, Dixon and defender Liam Guest forced blocks and Lavelle-Moore cleared the bar with a firm header.
Lavelle-Moore did have the ball in the net again 10 minutes into the second period but the goal was ruled out for a foul on the defender he had brushed off the ball to get the shot away. Moments later, forward Glodie Bange fired wide, after being played into space by Nangle's intelligent back heel.
Town attempted to find a way back but a combination of resolute defending and confident goalkeeping from Harry Andrews kept them at bay. At the other end, Notts remained a threat and Lavelle-Moore and Dixon had decent long-range efforts turned away.
A perfectly timed, crunching challenge on the right wing by full-back Brad McGowan allowed the Magpies next opening. The ball was fed into the feet of Dixon, who held off his marker and tested the goalkeeper with a low drive.
Dixon’s tireless closing down in defence later prompted Notts’ final chance of the match, a breakaway attack involving the fleet-footed Nangle, who carried the ball into the opposition half at pace. With the visitors stretched, he fed the ball to substitute James Randall, whose left-footed finish rolled wide of the mark.
County oozed confidence throughout and fully deserved their place in the Semi-Final. In all competitions, the youth team have now won eight out of their last nine and scored 14 goals in their last three games.
Man of the Match: Kyle Dixon
Starting 11: Andrews, McGowan, Geldenhuys, Guest, Clarke (Golding), Nangle, Dixon, Hodge (Crust), Campbell, Lavelle-Moore (Randall), Bange.
Subs From: Randall, Golding, Crust, Kenlock, Guy.
The Walsall clash will take place at 11am on Saturday 16 February 2013 at the Highfields Training Facility.
The Midland Cup Semi-Final away at Shrewsbury Town will be rearranged in due course.