Aldershot Town Academy Manager Ross McNeilly thought that his team got an “exceptional victory” against Sutton United after his u23 side won 1-0 at home on Saturday in the U23s Suburban Cup.
The game started brilliantly for Aldershot Town as they scored very early on to give themselves a great advantage. Kemari Spaulding was the man to break the deadlock.
However, The Shots had a man sent off in the 18th minute. This meant that Aldershot Town had to play with 10 men for 72 minutes.
Despite going ahead, Aldershot Town were holding on a little with Aldershot Town first-team backup goalkeeper Ryan Hall saving The Shots on a few occasions.
Sutton were coming into the game and they got a big opportunity to level the scoring when a Sutton player was brought down inside the penalty area.
The Sutton man stepped up and Hall saved the penalty to keep The Shots’ narrow lead intact.
The 10 men Aldershot Town defended like their lives depended on it as they held out for a 1-0 win and booked their place in to the semi-finals of the u23s Suburban Cup.
Following the game, Academy Manager Ross McNeilly gave his thoughts on the u23’s performance:
“We defended brilliantly in the first half especially when we’d just gone down to 10 men.
“A lot of teams can crumble when they lose a man so early in the game but these lads are resilient and they wanted it more than Sutton.”
McNeilly also commented on what it could mean if the u23s academy gets all the way to the final:
“We held the game out for an exceptional victory and it’s got us one step closer to the final.
“Ryan stepped up today when we needed him most and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an appearance in the first-team because of this.
“This team and the other age groups have a fantastic opportunity here.
“We could all get to the final and that would do the academy so much good in the future.”
McNeilly expanded on what it would mean if the u18s, u19s and u23s won the competition:
“If we can get all three teams to the final then that would be amazing.
“The academy gets amazing recognition and we can really put our name out there with a big statement.
“Our professional development of all three teams is out there for all to see.”
The u23s have Hartley Wintney in the semi-finals at home on the 21st March 2020.