Out but Proud: Imps U18s 2-3 Watford U18s (Report & Gallery)

Credit Graham Burrell

I managed to catch a bit of last night’s game, and if anyone doubts the future is bright for Lincoln City, they should have done the same.

Up until recently, Watford was a Premier League academy creating top footballers for the future, but last night our own young guns gave them a proper fright in the FA Youth Cup 4th round, and in the end what looked like a soft penalty gave the win to the Hornets. In my opinion, on the balance of play, City deserved to go through, but maybe I’m biased.

What stood out for many was the performance of Freddie Draper, a player we have already written about on here. he earned a call up to the first-team squad earlier in the season, and he struck two sensational goals last night, both wonderful volleys caught as crisp and as clean as you’d like. His first was a Van Basten-esuque hit across the keeper from the left channel after a great ball from Sean Roughan and it certainly got the Watford commentators drooling. Shortly after, Shaq Forde levelled for the Hornets, but City were not shaken.

Draper celebrates, how many times will we see this in the first team? – Credit Graham Burrell

Draper’s second, from a smart chest down by Javon Makama, gave their keeper no chance, leaving the Imps with a 2-1 lead at half time. Sadly, Turkish youth international and former AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord striker Tiago Cukur levelled once again.¬†Deep into second-half stoppage time, City had a huge penalty shout turned down after Tayo Alexander-Tucker went down in the area. It wasn’t given, and the game moved into extra time.

Agonisingly, the official did give a spot-kick, to the visitors, for what looked to be a soft knock in the area. It gave them a chance from 12-yards, and Sam Long was beaten for the third time, a second of the evening for Cukur. There was still time for drama though, Nathan Odokonyero had the ball in the net for the Imps, but it was ruled out for offside, with a yellow card being shown in the aftermath to Ben Sault.

It was still a proud evening for the young Imps, even though Roughan was forced off with an injury, another first-team defender to be out of action. Still, that will only take a little gloss off another great cup run from a talented and promising bunch of young players currently wearing the red and white of city.

Check out Bubs’ gallery of the evening below.

Credit Graham Burrell
Credit Graham Burrell
Credit Graham Burrell
Credit Graham Burrell
Credit Graham Burrell
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Credit Graham Burrell
Credit Graham Burrell
Credit Graham Burrell