League-Cup double for super Colchester United Under-18s

Colchester United Under-18s celebrate lifting the Youth Alliance National Cup after winning 4-2 at B

Colchester United Under-18s celebrate lifting the Youth Alliance National Cup after winning 4-2 at Bradford City last night. ( Photo by: Richard Blaxall ) - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Bradford City U-18s 2 Colchester United U-18s 4

Colchester United Under-18s enjoyed a terrific night at Valley Parade, beating hosts Bradford City in the Youth Alliance National Cup Final.

Sammie Szmodics and Macauley Bonne, who have both starred for the U’s first team during this season, were the chief destroyers.

Front-runner Bonne settled the nerves by breaking the deadlock inside three minutes, before Szmodics took centre stage with a wonderful hat-trick.

This win completed a league-cup double for the young U’s, a terrific achievement under the stewardship of Wayne Brown and John McGreal.

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The U’s had been handed the perfect start, going ahead after just three minutes.

Michael O’Donoghue capitalised on a poor header by Pollard, and his cross was coolly tucked away by Bonne to send the U’s on course for a famous win.

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City’s Wright hit the post, with keeper Bransgrove saving the follow-up by Webb-Foster, but the U’s remained in the driving seat and they had appeals for a 24th minute penalty turned down when Bonne appeared to be impeded by Heaton.

The buoyant U’s continued to dictate. Livewire Szmodics also ran through to try and convert Sembie-Ferris’ fine pass, only for keeper Barker to scurry off his line to save.

Heaton was also close to diverting home Szmodics’ cross for an own goal in the 34th minute, the ball flying over the bar.

But five minutes later and it was 2-0 to Colchester. Bonne was the creator, and his persistence enabled him to cross for a gleeful Szmodics to sweep home.

Into the second half and Oliver McBurnie converted Nathan Curtis’ cross to halve the deficit in the 56th minute.

But the Bantams could not fashion an equaliser and they were faced with a mountain to climb when Bonne and Szmodics again combined to devastating effect, Szmodics applying the killer touch on 66 minutes.

Nine minutes later and Szmodics netted the U’s fourth and his third with another quality goal, running through from the half-way line to round keeper Barker.

Bradford did grab a late consolation goal, McBurnie heading home his second goal of the night from a corner in stoppage time.

But that could not take the gloss off a tremendous evening for the U’s, achieved in front of an impressive crowd of 2,714.

Colchester United U-18s squad: Bransgrove, Andrews (sub Brampton, 64), Kent, Moore-Azille, O’Donoghue, Lapslie, Harrison, Szmodics, Sembie-Ferris (sub Smith, 78), Curtis (sub Monk, 85), Bonne. Unused subs: Carroll, Gardiner.

Attendance: 2,714

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