Footballers reach Quarter Finals in ECFA Premier Cup

Bridgwater & Taunton College’s Men’s 1 Football team have reached the quarter finals of the English Colleges FA Premier Cup after a win over Gower College.

With injuries and COVID contributing to some indifferent league results, the cup has become a focal point for Team BTC’s Men’s 1 side. Fortunately, the last few games have allowed some players to return from injury, which will help build the performance levels. Our opposition this week from Swansea was Gower College. Team BTC had shared a 5-5 draw in the league before Christmas.

Gower started brightly moving the ball through to their front three quickly, however the Team BTC back line of Lewis Jennings, Mike Murphy, Harry Durant, Brad Pfupa and Nathan Dimond was equal to all advances. What needed some closer attention was the midfield, where Lewis Smith, Olly Chubb and Acey Mead fought to contain the movement when the striker dropped in, and the wide player rotated.

On the offence, Sully McKenna and Brad Bfupa combined with Alex Parsons and Acey Mead to make inroads into the Gower defence. Balls from Mike Murphy and Harry Durant started to find their range, stretching behind the visitor’s defence with good timing and weight. Gower still presented a tough game to contend with, but the focus from the Team BTC players was excellent.

Todd Watts was introduced after 30 minutes to bolster the midfield as his natural eye for danger and closer attention denied Gower the middle ground. With neither side giving any quarter, it was a free kick Gower gave away that led to the opener. It was a deep free kick, which Mike Murphy played nicely through to Sully McKenna who balanced his attacking and defending duties perfectly, timing his run to guide home the delivery 1-0. Some other good play from Lewis Neenan and Alex Parsons almost brought about another goal on the counter, but the cross was agonisingly just out of reach to finish.

In the second period, Gower again started brightly and put tremendous pressure on Team BTC. It took great concentration and resilience to keep them at bay, plus an excellent save from an angled strike that Nathan Dimond pushed away. For all the pressure it was impressive to see the defence on great form, plus the support Todd Watts, Lewis Smith and Acey Mead provided. Gower kept knocking on the door but kept being repelled.

With the game physically demanding, Lewis Neenan was rested for Callum Chivers to inject fresh legs as Team BTC made their second change. The game at this point was thinly poised. Sully McKenna and Acey Mead had opportunities from good play releasing them to advance or come across the defensive line. However, our visitors defended well to keep the game tantalisingly close. Joe Keaney was now introduced as Alex Parsons needed a rest having worked tirelessly on his first Wednesday back since before Christmas.

The breakthrough came when, having weathered some heavy pressure, Team BTC had a good spell of their own. Brad Bfupa and Lewis Jennings supported the advance with good runs going forward. On this occasion, Lewis Jennings had pushed up to receive off Joe Keaney. The delivery from Lewis Jennings was lovely, good weight, around the back of the defence as Callum Chivers recognised the delivery to put a diving header in at the far post 2-0.

With 20 minutes to go, it was never expected to be easy, and it was not. Gower still showed endeavour to push for a way back in, but a real gritty approach from Team BTC maintained the levels of commitment that stood them firm.

With the referee adding four minutes of added time, Gower did manage to get a goal to make the final two minutes of the four interesting. However, Team BTC were not to be denied as they won through 2-1 and go into the last eight of the National Cup.

There were some good displays on the day and a real team performance, but for two top drawer saves. Nathan Dimond in goal was MOTM

Men’s and Women’s Football are both being offered as Sport Development Days this year. If you are in year 10 or 11 at school and would like to take part, visit our Sport Development Days page to find out more.

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