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29 April 2014

Tuesday 29 April 2014
The Football League Youth Alliance Cup Final
Bradford City 2 (McBurnie 57, 90+4)
Colchester United 4 (Bonne 3, Szmodics 39, 66, 76)
Kick Off: 7.00pm
at the Coral Windows Stadium

Attendance 2,714
Pictures kindly provided by Thomas Gadd

City's youngsters unfortunately couldn't add cup triumph to their league success this season as they were defeated 4-2 by Colchester United in the Football League Youth Alliance Cup Final at the Coral Windows Stadium.

The Bantams striker Oliver McBurnie netted twice but an early effort from Macauley Boone, coupled with a hat-trick from the impressive Sammie Szmodics, saw the U's run out deserved winners.

With everything to play for in such an exciting showpiece event, both sides began the final at great speed.

Unfortunately for City, however, it was the visitors who gained the early advantage in the contest.

A James Pollard slip allows Michael O'Donoghue the opportunity to nip in. O'Donoghue beat the on-rushing Elliott Barker to the ball and slipped it across to the waiting Bonne, who tapped into an unguarded goal despite the presence of Niall Heaton sliding in.

City had the chance to level things up just six minutes later when a header on from Reece Webb-Foster managed to play McBurnie in behind Colchester's defence.

As McBurnie looked to get the ball under control, Dylan Mottley-Henry used his pace to take control of the situation and drive for the area. Once in the box, Mottley-Henry shot for goal but the effort was repelled by the frame of Colchester keeper James Bransgrove.

The Bantams went even closer shortly afterwards when Sam Wright headed against the post following Heaton's long throw-in into the area. Webb-Foster headed for goal with the rebound but Bransgrove got down low to his right to push the effort away.

Colchester had a shout for a penalty turned down in the 23rd minute when Bonne appeared to get goal-side of Niall Heaton while chasing down a long ball over the top. Bonne seemed for a second to be through with a sight of goal inside the area after latching onto the pass, but the presence of Heaton at his back meant the Colchester striker couldn't get a shot away and the ball eventually bounced through to Barker.

Colchester's bench felt Heaton had been tugging Bonne back as the striker looked to go for his shot but referee Jason Knowles ignored their protests.

Roughly ten minutes later Heaton was involved again when he got back into position to hook away a goal-bound effort from Szmodics after the attacker's angled drive had beaten Barker at his near post.

With the game continuing to be played a brisk pace, City threatened up the other end barely sixty seconds later as Webb-Foster fizzed a low cross along the six yard box that just evaded the diving McBurnie in the middle.

Despite the Bantams' best efforts in the game though, Colchester managed to double their lead with time ticking towards the interval.

Bonne's teasing centre across the box eventually found the lurking Szmodics, who managed the simple task of firing past a helpless Barker from close range.

Szmodics could have actually snatched his second from Colchester's next attack as the visitors broke forward on the counter following a City free-kick. Szmodics used his pace to keep at arms length from as many as three City defenders but the attacker's eventual effort once inside the box flashed wide of Barker's near post.

Following the restart, the Bantams had the first meaningful attempt of the second period when James King fired over from the edge of the six yard box after a teasing delivery from a wide free-kick by Jack Stockdill had fallen into his path.

Colchester responded just two minutes later, however, when Frankie Kent headed the ball into the path of Szmodics, whose shot across goal from inside the box narrowly missed the lurking Tariq Moore-Azille and Barker's far post.

With the game moving towards the hour mark, City managed to pull a goal back through McBurnie.

Fine work from Nathan Curtis engineered the winger a yard of space and he proceeded to slip the ball across the six yard box, allowing McBurnie to tap home from close range.

The sizeable home crowd were right behind City now, and Webb-Foster could have equalised shortly after McBurnie's goal when he got the better of Kent inside the box.

After dispossessing the Colchester skipper, Webb-Foster went for the far corner with a curling effort but his strike from around fourteen yards out was pushed away by Bransgrove.

City's tails may have been up at this stage, but unfortunately it was Colchester who would strike next in the game.

Barely ten minutes after McBurnie's strike for the Bantams, Szmodics grabbed his second of the evening to restore Colchester's two-goal advantage.

After receiving the ball from Bonne, Szmodics turned into shooting space deep inside City's area before coolly slotting the ball into the far bottom corner.

City tried to push for a way back into the game as the minutes ticked by but they were caught on the counter-attack to leave the game amongst up.

Pushed up for a free-kick deep in Colchester's half, City were left in trouble when the ball broke to Szmodics to allow the striker to run clear into the Bantams' half of the pitch.

Rhys Jenkinson tried to keep up with pacey forward but Szmodics still sped for goal, ran around the on-rushing Barker, before slotting into an empty goal.

Despite the cup now looking beyond them, City kept going to their credit and could have had a goal back when Bransgrove had to tip over a glancing header from McBurnie following Heaton's long throw into the area.

McBurnie went close again deep in injury time from another Heaton long throw-in but his shot on the turn was kicked off the line by the alert Moore-Azille.

City's young striker wasn't to be denied, however, as he headed home for the Bantams' second of the night from the resulting Stockdill corner.

Barker, Pollard, King, Heaton, Jenkinson, Mottley-Henry, Wright, Stockdill, Curtis, McBurnie, Webb-Foster

Subs: Hallwood, Brennan, Cissa, Waters, Devine

Bradford City changes:
Waters for Pollard (46), Brennan for Webb-Foster (76), Devine for Jenkinson (85)

Bradford City cautions:
King (79)

Bransgrove, Andrews, Lapslie, Kent, O'Donoghue, Curtis, Moore-Azille, Harrison, Sembie-Ferris, Szmodics, Bonne

Subs: Carroll, Brampton, Monk, Smith, Gardiner

Colchester changes:
Brampton for Andrews (65), Smith for Sembie-Ferris (79), Monk for Curtis (85)

Colchester cautions:
Brampton (80), Moore-Azille (84)

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