Match report: Three second-half goals condemn U19s to opening day defeat
Cedric Kouemeni’s goal, Farsley’s third, was the final kick of the game as the U19s were narrowly beaten 4-3 on the opening day of the National League Youth Alliance season.
Moussa Sidibe scored his second in as many games to give Farsley a 22nd minute lead, his first for the U19s having netting for the U23s last week.
Billingham Synthonia travel back to Teeside with the three points after three second-half goals separated the teams who entered the break level.
Sidibe and Wilfred Frimpong returned on the left and right wing respectively having been ineligible for the FA Youth Cup and width was key for Farsley’s dominant first-half with Billingham equalising in added-time before the break.
Sidibe created the best chance of the opening 10 minutes as he beat his man into the box before squaring right to Louis Fialdini on the penalty spot. The first-time shot was parried but straight to Frimpong on the opposite side but at a tight angle, he shot into the side netting.
A battle in midfield in which either side could have conquered finally opened up for Ryan Ford after he knocked the ball out of his feet into space 25-yards out for a shot – comfortably smothered by Rhys Westcarr in the Farsley goal.
Sidibe continued the highlight reel, backheeling the ball round his defender and advancing down the wing. Unable to create a shooting opportunity, Frimpong did on the opposite wing, cutting inside before seeing his left-footed shot saved.
Billingham countered with a low direct through ball between the Farsley centre-halves resulting in a shot on the edge of the box but well over.
Sidibe’s early confidence was turned into the opening goal on 22 minutes as he took charge of the free-kick.
The ball was slightly left of centre before Sidibe put it round the right of the wall and inside the far post.
Fialdini then just couldn’t reach Sidibe’s cross from the left a minute later.
On 35 minutes, the Farsley attack was built up on the left so when it escaped to the right, Frimpong was tucked in rather central. Jared Felix overlapped leaving Frimpong with just one defender to shift the ball away from before shooting left-footed but high over the bar.
Bailey Duffield benefitted from Fialdini’s foot injury, a forced change in the 36th minute but the beneficiary, stretching to make any contact on the ball, flicked to goal another Sidibe cross but it lacked enough control, flying over.
Sidibe got a second attempt at a similar free-kick just before half-time after beating one defender but being caught by the second as cut infield.
Further out at 25-yards, this second attempt was laced over the bar.
But the half didn’t end before Billingham had equalised after Westcarr dropped an initial effort to gift the goal.
The ball rebounded off Westcarr into the path of the Billingham forward one on one in the box who took full advantage.
Billingham took the lead four minutes into the second-half.
A nicely weighted one-two round the Farsley centre-halves meant only Leon Wilson was reaching the ball, ahead of Westcarr to pass past the left of the ‘keeper.
The ball was in the Farsley net a third time a minute later after Ryan Ford’s midfield run was found by the flick of Rajan Gurung but a raised flag cancelled it out.
Advancing into the box again on 52 minutes was Sidibe after beating his defender but his near post effort found the side netting
Instead, Billingham extended their lead in the 59th minute.
A free-kick basically on the goal touchline flew through the crowd in the middle of the box before being hooked to goal for Leon Wilson’s second.
No prizes to guess who was in-behind running into the box once again on the hour, Sidibe’s shot blocked, deflected back to Jared Felix on the penalty spot but the ball bounced away from him meaning a poor connection on the shot led to the ball curling away from the far post.
A square pass across Farsley’s defence from Ollie Clarkson, left to Jayden Roberts was intercepted allowing the Billingham forward one-on-one. Just as the shot was taken, Clarkson had recovered to force a scuffed strike straight at Westcarr.
Billingham’s fourth came with 20 minutes remaining.
A cross from the right was won in the air by Taylor Smith with the ball dropping to the visiting forward’s feet and he placed into the top right corner, the ball’s path assisted by the woodwork.
Cedric Kouemeni replaced Bailey Duffield in attack on 73 minutes with Sidibe moving central and the introduction almost paid off after three minutes.
Kouemeni intercepted a square pass across the Billingham defence before the winger advanced into the box. Supporting strike Sidibe’s shouts for the ball to Kouemeni’s left were heard but a last defender covered ahead of Sidibe to concede a corner.
Jared Felix’s third goal in two competitive matches began a come-back for Farsley in the 80th minute.
The now centre-forward placed past the ‘keeper one on one inside the box having scored twice in the FA Youth Cup victory last week.
Jacob Smith’s free-kick glancing wide off TJ Kongolo’s head at the far right post in added-time looked to have sealed the victory for Billingham.
But Cedric Kouemeni added a third for Farsley just minutes later having decided to take the shot this time.
Cutting inside, the winger’s left-footed shot deflected away from the diving ‘keepers fingers and inside the near post.
Kicking-off after the restart was the final kick of the match meaning the U19s suffered an opening day defeat.
The eligible U18s face York City in the next round of the FA Youth Cup on Monday 13th September.