McWeeney the hero as City youngsters slay Colchester
ADAM McWeeney was the hero for St Albans City as they caused a cup upset when they knocked Colchester United out in the First Round of the FA Youth Cup. City were indebted to McWeeney, not for the first time during this cup run, after the shot-stopper pul
ADAM McWeeney was the hero for St Albans City as they caused a cup upset when they knocked Colchester United out in the First Round of the FA Youth Cup.
City were indebted to McWeeney, not for the first time during this cup run, after the shot-stopper pulled off a number of fine saves to deny Colchester.
It wasn't all about McWeeney though with City turning in a good all-round team performance typified no more so than by captain Rob Magwood in the centre of the park who never gave up running and allowed his Colchester counterparts no time on the ball.
City were dealt a blow before kick-off when influential defender Ross Dedman, who has been named on the bench for the first team in recent weeks, was forced to pull out after picking up an injury with Layne Eadie promoted from the subs bench in his place.
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When the game started there was a feeling Dedman's absence at the heart of the defence would prove costly but make-shift centre-half Conor Baker and his central defensive partner Aaron Lewis handled the Colchester strikeforce admirably.
The one time the pair were caught out they had 'keeper McWeeney to thank for bailing them out.
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Lewis and Baker got caught going for the same ball leaving Jordan Lartey free 10 yards out but the big stopper got down well to turn the Us' winger's shot round the post.
A long ball out from the back by Eadie found Stefano Geraldes who did well to turn his man on the edge of the box, but his shot went well wide.
Colchester winger Alex O'Leary was given space down the left and he picked out Connor McCloskey in the six yard box but the midfielder's shot was narrowly off target.
Colchester continued to push for the opener and a mistake from Eadie saw the ball fall at the feet of Jordan Pavett but his shot from the edge of the box was easily held by McWeeney.
For all Colchester's attacking play they weren't able to really hurt City and the home side made Colchester pay when they took a surprise lead in the 26th minute.
A long ball out from the back caused confusion in the Us' defence with defender Tom Bender and goalkeeper Andrew Dickey getting caught in a right muddle. Tinashe Muskwe put the duo under pressure and the ball somehow went into the unguarded net.
Muskwe, who has scored in every round of the competition so far, wheeled away in celebration but there was some feeling the ball came off Bender last.
The goal gave City confidence and they began to threaten the Us' goal more regularly.
A good run by Muskwe was ended by a good tackle in the box but the ball fell to Magwood who hit a venomous shot that Dickey in the Colchester goal did well to hold on to.
City had a good chance to add a second when Luke Jackaman's corner reached Magwood at the far post but the skipper blazed over the bar from 10 yards.
A mistake by Lewis gifted Colchester possession but McWeeney was on hand once more to deny the Us. Lartey crossed the ball from the right and Pavett met the ball with a firm header but McWeeney acrobatically pushed the striker's effort round the post.
The first chance of the second half went City's way but Jackaman scooped his effort over the bar.
A jinking run by O'Donnell saw the first-teamer flash the ball agonisingly across the face of goal inches away from the out-stretched boot of Jackaman who had the goal at his mercy.
O'Donnell was enjoying more space in the middle of the park and he took advantage of this to slip Geraldes in behind the Colchester defence. Unfortunately the City striker rushed his shot and the ball bobbled harmlessly into the arms of Dickey.
Colchester wasted a guilt edged chance to get back into the game when O'Leary crossed for Craig Arnott. The striker, who is the Us' top scorer this season, controlled the ball beautifully on his chest to get past Baker but after doing the hard part he fired over the bar.
The Us slowly exerted more pressure on City. Substitute Jordan Anderson skipped away from the City midfield but his shot from 25 yards was well held by McWeeney.
Baker struck a good free kick from out on the right but it was at a nice height for Dickey and he easily collected.
McWeeney was called into action once more to deny Pavett's well struck free kick with seven minutes remaining.
City had a scare in the second minute of time added on when Colchester left back Shane Stamp got free of his marker and let fly with a shot that drifted just wide, but Steve Castle's young charges held on for the victory and referee Rob Hodges' final whistle was met by jubilant scenes.
The victory now sets up a Second Round clash at home to either Maidstone or Wycombe Wanderers with their tie due to be played on Thursday.
St Albans City: McWeeney; Spaul, Lewis, Baker, Eadie; Jackaman (Davis 74), Magwood, Saunders, O'Donnell; Geraldes, Muskwe (Logon 50).
Subs: Adams, Thomas.
Colchester United: Dickey; Hamilton, Glowacki, Bender, Stamp; Lartey (Sanderson 63), O'Sullivan, McCloskey, O'Leary (Melaugh 78); Arnott, Pavett.
Subs: Aytac, Ajim, Cusack.
Referee: Rob Hodges (Milton Keynes)
Man of the Match: Adam McWeeney