Following the clubs link with Letcombe FC many of the Academies 2nd & 3rd years plus graduates from last year have been at Letcombe throughout pre-season. These boys have come back fit, strong and hungry to have a really successful year which is rubbing off on the new 1st year group. The atmosphere around the Academy is 'buzzing' with focus being placed on the opening National League game against Basingstoke on Monday 4th September and FA Youth Cup tie against Andover Town.
The boys have been thrown in at the deep end with friendlies coming thick and fast. The 1st years travelled to Chippenham last Wednesday and came away with a 4-4 draw, goals from Dylan O'Sullivan, Jake Rostron and Dylan Lightbown with a brace. The 2nd years travelled to Letcombe on the Thursday and despite a 7-1 reverse the score line does not reflect the performance as they more than matched their more experienced opposition. Set-pieces proved to be the downfall as we failed to cope with Letcombe's aerial power. Ollie Thorburn got our solitary goal.
Yesterday it was the turn of the 1st years with new recruit Aaron Duncan the only more experienced player who travelled to Oxford City. The game was played on the clubs newly laid 4g main pitch which the first-team will be on next Tuesday. Oxford's pace, power, desire and organisation left the 1st years chasing shadows at times and went into half-time 7 nil down. A spirited half-time chat from Bobby Wilkinson proved to be the catalyst for a much improved 2nd half performance which ended 1-1 with Dylan Lightbown notching another goal.
Earlier today the 2nd & 3rd years travelled to AFC Bournemouth Sparsholt and came away with a 4-3 win after being 2-0 down, goals from Jay Johnson, Bailey Abrams and Dan Bailey with a brace. Tomorrow we face Oxford City again which is an opportunity to put a few things right and continue the building ready for September.
Updated 14:18 - 10 Aug 2017 by Gary Clifford