Saturday 11 March 2017, 12:00pm at Motspur Park, Surrey
Fulham FC
Fulham U18s
Pearce 25'; Elstone 36'
Aston Villa U18s
Ramsey 56'; Knibbs 61'

25' Goal

Isaac Pearce

36' Goal

Michael Elstone

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Cameron Thompson
Off:Michael Elstone

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Chris Kelly
Off:Nicolas Santos-Clase

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Reece York
Off:Jayden Harris

56' Goal

Jacob Ramsey

61' Goal

Harvey Knibbs

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Louis Hall
Off:Mason Birch

Goals from Isaac Pearce and Michael Elstone were not enough to secure all three points for the Whites against Villa on Saturday.

Fulham drew 2-2 against Aston Villa in their first Merit Group game of the year. The Whites were given the lead by Isaac Pearce, and the second was added by Michael Elstone before Villa had a resurgence in the second half and scored two of their own.

Fulham had encountered Aston Villa twice this year already, and each team had one win apiece.

The first opportunity of the match fell to Callum Rowe of Aston Villa. He latched onto a loose pass high up the pitch and shot from far out to test Taye Ashby-Hammond, who was unfazed by the effort.

The next 10 minutes saw both sides battling hard in midfield, trying to unlock each others defences. Elstone broke down the right of the pitch and attempted a cross, but goalkeeper Mani Idem was quick to intervene.

In the 13th minute, Jaydn Mundle-Smith intercepted a ball at left-back and ran at a claret and blue shirt, drawing in the man. He sent a well weighted ball down the line to Nicolas Santos-Clase, who swept a low cross through the six yard line but no Fulham attacker could get on the end of it.

The Whites put significant pressure on the Villa defence, winning a number of corners from both sides. Jose Garrido managed to get his head to the ball twice, but couldn’t make his efforts count.

Moments later Elstone once more played a ball from midfield to himself by knocking it past a static defender and chasing it down, he attempted a cross before it was blocked for a corner.

This time Dan Martin’s curled the ball into the box and it was cleared only as far as Jayden Harris, who smashed a shot, catching a slight deflection to send it inches over the cross bar.

In the 20th minute Mundle-Smith sent yet another excellently weighted pass down the line with Elstone chasing again, he battled with his defender and dinked a cross to the back post, which was cleared to keep the corner count rising.

Five minutes later and it was Joe Felix’s turn to create a chance, he sprinted up the right and whipped a ball across the box and Elstone couldn’t get a touch, this time however they made the corner count.

The ball swung in and Garrido got above his defender and headed it back across goal where Pearce was waiting. He was able to generate a powerful header, sending his shot across the keeper to give the Whites the advantage they deserved.

Villa tried to respond quickly with a counter attack, and Garrido managed to get back and slide in and deflect the shot just over the bar. The corner flew into the box and Garrido was there once more to head the ball out of danger.

Ten minutes before the half-time whistle Fulham doubled their lead and made their first half dominance count. Pearce nicked the ball right of the halfway line and sprung forward. He curled an exquisite ball past all defenders to Elstone, who with his left foot slotted the ball into the net.

The second half however took a drastic turn. With the Whites playing up the hill, they started to invite pressure. Villa tried to force mistakes from Fulham’s defence straight from the off having made a key substitution during the break.

It took 10 minutes for Villa to get back into the game. Jayden Harris had the ball taken from him in midfield, which some viewed as a foul. Villa’s Jacub Ramsey was alone in the box and the ball was played through to him on the left, he slotted it left past Ashby-Hammond.

It wasn’t long before Villa attacked again, the Whites were taking too many touches in dangerous areas, and were not able to clear their lines.

A Villa attacker made his way once more into the box and the ref blew for a penalty, having deemed that Santos-Clase had unfairly pushed him the player illegally in the back and off the ball.  

Harvy Knibbs took the honours for Aston Villa, and expertly smashed the penalty bottom left. Ashby-Hammond went the correct way and was close to saving, but the shot was accurate and went close to the post.

In the final 10 minutes both neither team were happy to settle for the draw and both went forward with venom looking for the winner. Crosses came in with Ashby-Hammond collecting with no problem.

The Whites played heavily down the right, with substitutes Chris Kelly and Cameron Thompson linking up play with Felix.

The final chance came for Fulham as Sonny Hilton squeezed a ball through the back line to Harris running at speed but a defender got back just in time and marshalled the ball out of play.

Villa countered down the other end of the pitch and an accurate last ditch tackle from Hilton kept the scores level, neither team were able to capitalise. The game deservedly finished 2-2 and both teams shared the points.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays U18 Premier League

Date: Saturday 11 March 2017
Kick-off: 12:00pm

Venue: Motspur Park, Surrey

Fulham U18s

Line-up: Ashby-Hammond; Felix, Sessegnon, Garrido, Mundle-Smith; Harris (York 90'), Martin; Pearce, Hilton, Santos-Clase (Kelly 77'); Elstone (Thompson 77')

Unused substitutes: Schwarzer, Tahir

Aston Villa U18s

Line-up: Idem; Walker, Finnerty, Revan, Williams; Rowe, Prosser; Knibbs, Birch (Hall 46'), Ramsey; Mooney

Unused substitutes: Boucher, Abdoul, Stretch, Pastroek

Fulham U18s (4-2-3-1)
  • 1Taye Ashby-Hammond
  • 2Joe Felix
  • 5Steven Sessegnon
  • 6Jose Garrido
  • 3Jaydn Mundle-Smith
  • 8Jayden Harris
  • 4Dan Martin
  • 7Isaac Pearce
  • 10Sonny Hilton
  • 11Nicolas Santos-Clase
  • 9Michael Elstone
  • 12Reece York
  • 13Julian Schwarzer
  • 14Chris Kelly
  • 15Cameron Thompson
  • 16Showkat Tahir
Aston Villa U18s (4-2-3-1)
  • 1Mani Idem
  • 2Jake Walker
  • 5James Finnerty
  • 6Dominic Revan
  • 3Josh Williams
  • 8Callum Rowe
  • 4Alex Prosser
  • 7Harvey Knibbs
  • 10Mason Birch
  • 11Jacob Ramsey
  • 9Kelsey Mooney
  • 12Louis Hall
  • 13Kieran Boucher
  • 14Johan Abdoul
  • 15Callum Stretch
  • 16Jozef Pastroek