Swindon Town’s academy team made their second appearance in George Town last week, a year on from their first and they thoroughly enjoyed getting away from the harsh English winter.
Following an entertaining 2-2 draw with Academy on Tuesday evening, the visiting Under-14s from Swindon Town’s Youth Academy faced a select team from West Bay and Bodden Town on Thursday evening at the Ed Bush Sports Complex in West Bay.
Swindon were up 2-0 in the first game for much of the match. But Academy, under director of football Virgil Seymour, never gave up and were rewarded with two goals late in the game.
Corey Mellaneo and Zach Scott hit Academy’s goals. For Swindon Town it was Tyreke Johnson in the first half and Scott Twine after the break.
In West Bay, with influential midfielder Jordan Young out through injury, there was a starting spot for 13-year-old Caymanian Kray Foster in the Swindon starting lineup alongside compatriot Sebastian Martinez, the kid who sparked the connection between Swindon and the Cayman Islands.
From the opening whistle, Swindon stamped their authority on the game as they quickly got into their passing rhythm, something that was missing from the first game.
With the WB/BT Select on their heels and finding themselves constantly chasing their opposition, it wasn’t long before the visitors found their range.
Midway through the first half, little Martinez punished his compatriots after latching onto a through ball and placing it into the corner to put his team ahead. The former Academy Sports Club star had impressed again on his return.
With the pressure mounting on the locals, Swindon’s Aiden Compton hit the crossbar and Martinez nearly added a second, but mistimed his shot only to see it drift over the bar.
Swindon’s Tyreke Johnson looked dangerous down the left flank as did Foster down the middle. Both players were busy throughout the first half and put in a tremendous amount of work.
The WB/BT Select slowly pulled themselves into the game and had a few chances to level were it not for the fabulous reflexes of Swindon’s shot-stopper Lehmann.
The second half was much of the same with both teams making quite a few changes. Swindon again hit the crossbar through dangerous Tyreke Johnson and WB/BT Select were denied a goal after Lehmann bravely thwarted a one-on-one forage into his penalty area.
Although fatigue set in for both teams, the game was still played at a high tempo and the select team looked dangerous on the break. Unfortunately, they could not find that one opening and the game stayed 1-0 to Swindon.
West Bay Sports Foundation’s Ardin “Cheeky” Rivers said: “It was a special week of youth football and we thank all the fans who came out to support the two teams.
“We especially thank the sponsors who made this event possible and to the many volunteers who assisted in some way to make this Swindon trip a success.
“Swindon Town’s players and coaching staff have thoroughly enjoyed their stay and appreciate the reception they have received from the Cayman public.”