Bulls dealt cruel penalty blow

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FOR those who have been watching the world’s most famous knock-out competition for some time, they will be familiar with how it is described.

‘Magical’, emotive’, ‘dramatic’.

But there was another at play on Friday night in Sussex, where Jersey Bulls’ youth side probably experienced ‘cruelty’ for the first time in their embryonic careers as they exited the FA Youth Cup via a penalty shootout.

The Islanders, appearing in the first qualifying round of the U18 competition after beating Burgess Hill in the preliminaries earlier this month, finished 4-3 down against Horsham, after a 0-0 draw over 90 minutes.

‘They are disappointed but I’m incredibly proud of them,’ said manager, Paul Renton.

‘If I’m being totally honest, we should have won that game in the 90 minutes and that’s what will stick more in the mind than the penalties.

‘I don’t think anybody could have argued if we’d scored three or four, but for boys of this age it is about learning. We have had just one session with them so there’s been very limited contact time so far, but this experience they can use to make sure they have a very good season.’

Renton’s assessment did not pinpoint any of his charges by name for their profligacy in front of goal, but Miguel Carvalho and Sammy Henia-Kamau both squandered numerous opportunities – before Harry Scott scuffed the game’s best opportunity from three yards.

As is the norm in youth football, there were a number of scouts in the crowd at Horsham’s modern Camping World Community Stadium, and they were, primarily, there to watch Henia-Kamau.

The two-goal hero at Burgess Hill in the last round did everything but add to his season’s tally on the artificial surface. He was a constant menace on and off the ball.

And in Carvalho he had a team-mate very much on his level – both youngsters utilising their low centre of gravity and ability to beat a man in a one-versus-one scenario to outstanding effect.

Renton, vastly experienced in managing prodigious young talent, is well aware of Henia-Kamau’s ability.

‘He’s got so much going for him has Sammy, but we’ve known that for some time,’ he explained. ‘And it’s no surprise to us that people are beginning to notice him. That’s one of the reasons we put this team together: to give these boys a platform to show their skills.

‘Sammy has everything you want in a forward player. He works hard off the ball to start, but then he wants to get at players, he’s got pace and has an eye for goal. When we changed our system to go with three forwards to match their three defenders, it worked a treat.’

So, to the cruelty, of the variety inflicted from 12 yards.

Bulls captain, Charlie Brennan, saw his opening kick saved by George Edgley and when Carvalho sent his effort wide of the post next up, it was always going to be an uphill battle.

Joel McKinlay, Henia-Kamau and Leandro Vieira, already part of Renton’s U23s group, all converted confidently but the damage had been done early.

The magic of the cup will have to wait another year – most of this group will have another stab at it next term – but Renton and his coaching staff have seen enough to know there will be plenty more to celebrate this season, given the quality at their disposal.

Jersey Bulls U18s: Jacob Videgrain, Damon Huckerby, Fergus Boyle, Joel McKinlay, TJ Woodley, Charlie Brennan, Harry Scott, Leandro Vieira, Sammy Henia-Kamau, Seaney McColgan, Miguel Carvalho. Substitutes: Ed Jefferies, Ollie Walker, Ben Shirley.

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