Last night, Ross McNeilly took his young academy side away to Hartley Wintney in the Aldershot Senior Cup. The side featured a number of the names that supporters would have seen in the FA Trophy game against Bedford Town. Ryan Hall started in goal for the side having recently been training with the first team and making it onto the bench for the game against Barrow in the National League and Simba Kudyiwa started in the centre of the pitch, having impressed in a number of games this season.
Unfortunately, the young side fell afoul of the experience of cup holders Hartley Wintney early on as Jack Ball headed in from a set piece after just six minutes. Former Aldershot player Tyrone Smith set up the second Hartley Wintney goal for Steve Duff from a second set piece. Then on the half hour mark the scoring was completed for the day as QPR loanee Mitchell Parker put the ball home from 10 yards out.
The academy manager said, after the game: “Obviously we’re disappointed to lose and be knocked out of the cup, however, we performed well and only conceded from two set pieces against a larger team with a group of young lads. It’s a very important learning experience for both the team and all the individuals. Playing men’s football can be a real step up compared to academy football and they will all grow from the opportunity they’ve had tonight. The boys have all played on Monday night and tonight so it’s been a tough couple of days for them but they can all hold their heads high.”