Extra time hero Saunders sends Under 15 Blues into cup final
Sunday 25 March 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 25 March 2018 at 18:25)
While late drama denied the Under 18 Yellows, Royal Wootton Bassett Town Under 15 Blues booked a North Wilts Cup final place courtesy of Billy Saunders' extra time winner.
Under 15 Blue
Billy Saunders was the hero for the Under 15 Blues as he scored in the 18th minute of extra time to seal a 1-0 victory over Highworth Town Juniors T.
His strike ensured his team of a North Wilts League Cup final place for the third time in four years. And Bassett will be aiming to defend their cup crown when they take on Swindon Supermarine R at the County Ground.
Highworth, sitting third in Division One, came into the semi final as the only side to have beaten Bassett so far this season, having triumphed 3-2 in their opening league meeting.
And, as anticipated, their encounter was a tense, entertaining one throughout.
Bassett did have two goals disallowed, while also hitting the woodwork. But both defences stood firm throughout, and the tie seemed destined to be decided on penalties.
That was until Saunders popped up with two minutes of extra time remaining.
Victory also keeps Bassett's treble hopes alive. In the league, they sit second, a point behind Supermarine with both teams still having eight to play. The Blues have a Wiltshire County Cup semi final against Trowbridge Town Youth Lions to look forward to as well.
Under 18 Yellow
There was heartbreak for the Under 18 Yellows though, as they came within five minutes of reaching the final. However, two late goals secured a 4-3 victory for FC Chippenham Youth in a thrilling contest.
Bassett, who ply their trade in Division Two, were very much the underdogs against their Division One opponents.
However, the team were fired up for the match and started brightly.
Chippenham would strike first though, scoring from their first attack with five minutes on the clock.
Despite falling behind early, Bassett didn't let their heads drop and eventually equalised thanks to a fine Euan Burke free kick.
Following the restart Chippenham restored their lead only for Burke to level again with a great headed effort from a set piece.
The game was still very tight, and Bassett got their noses in front for the first time in the afternoon when Luke Saunders kept his cool following a goalmouth scramble that almost saw Burke complete his hat trick.
And that lead came close to being doubled, only for the crossbar to deny Callum Bridges.
Surviving that scare, Chippenham restored parity with just five minutes to go when a speculative effort beat Adam McGill in the Bassett goal.
It was a harsh blow for Bassett, but there was more to come when, in the final minute, a through ball split the Bassett defence and a one-on-one with McGill was put away.
Although a cruel way to lose, it was a fantastic performance from Bassett, who came so close to claiming another Division One scalp and booking a place in the showpiece.
The players can certainly hold their heads up high as they did the club proud.
North Wilts League
In league action, the Under 14 Blues recorded an impressive 5-2 victory against third place FC Chippenham Youth White.
Chippenham started the day breathing down Bassett's neck in Division One, trailing them by just three points with three games in hand.
However, Bassett proved too strong for them, and also gained revenge for a heavy 8-2 loss in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign.
James Johnson led the way with a hat trick, while Lewis Dodson and Otis Lewis were also on target.
Elsewhere, the Under 12 Blues dented Bradford Youth Mustangs' Division One title hopes, holding the south Wiltshire side to a 1-1 draw.
Meanwhile, the Under 13 Yellows, who were being cheered on throughout by their Blue team counterparts, fell to a 6-2 defeat against Ramsbury Youth.