18 Aug 2023
Match report by Gareth Billington
Alton's Youth team caused an upset in the FA Youth Cup on Thursday as they knocked out a strong Winchester City side on penalties after a tense evening at The Exclusive Networks Stadium.
The young Brewers started brightly and were rewarded with an early goal when Herbie Charlton turned home skipper Ollie Kavanaghb's free kick after 8 minutes.
Their joy was short lived however as Winchester equalised shortly after when a partially cleared corner was slotted home.
The equaliser buoyed the visitors and they enjoyed a period of sustained pressure but disciplined and resilient defending, aided by a fine Casey Balfour save, kept them at bay and Alton began to regain a foothold in the game.
Ali Wood and Leo Finch both went close but they reached the half all square.
The second half lacked the quality of the first as both teams became more scrappy in their play and the game lacked any real flow. It certainly had plenty of intrigue and tension though!
Winchester dominated the ball but struggled to create clear chances against Alton's tenacious defence.
As time ticked towards full time it became more and more frantic. Alton survived a couple of goalmouth scrambles as fatigue became a factor but hung on to take it to penalties.
Kavanagh, Finch and Harry Brine scored their kicks while a Balfour save and Winchester miss gave Alton the advantage.
Josh Gardner calmly scored the decisive penalty to take Alton through.
A fantastic achievement and result for a new young squad containing seven U16s.