Keighley FA u17 8
A solid Keighley sparkled again against Craven in their opening fixture of this year’s West Riding County FA Minor Cup competition at Settle.
Last season Keighley romped to a 10-0 win at Silsden and, despite only seven of that squad featuring in this season’s 20-strong pool, they again gained an emphatic victory.
A more spirited Craven had put together a young squad and started brightly.
The rain was incessant throughout the game and it was Craven who fashioned the opening chance after three minutes when striker Ross Greenwood beat Keighley keeper Reece Simpson but hit the bar.
Keighley’s midfield quartet of captain Ryan Narey, Jack Cryer, George Sellars and Ben Dakin began to dominate possession and after eight minutes, Narey’s corner to the back post was headed in by Sellars.
Conditions were proving to be difficult on a pitch, which was getting heavier by the minute, but Keighley looked to be overwhelming their opponents.
After 13 minutes a defensive mix up allowed Euan Sessford to ghost in and double the lead.
Sessford, and fellow strike partner Pedro Quintas, were enjoying the space they were creating with their intelligent movement and it was no surprise when, after 19 minutes Quintas got on the scoresheet with a cool finish.
The back four of Declan Consoli, Alex Daniels, the impressive George Guest, and Aaron Dickson were coping with any pressure and a fantastic flying save by Simpson from George Store’s free-kick kept Craven at bay.
The combative Cryer and elegant Narey were pulling the strings for Keighley with Dakin and Dickson linking superbly on the left hand side as they opened up Craven again for Sessford’s pace to take him through on goal and slot home.
Four goals in the opening half hour showed Keighley’s dominance but Craven pulled one back from Greenwood to give them a glimmer of hope.
George Brown came on at right back for his debut and slotted in with ease to the back four.
With some scintillating interchanging of passes, the lightning quick Sessford conjured another chance and Keighley were awarded a penalty but he screwed his chances of a hat-trick wide to leave the half-time score at 4-1.
Keighley’s main problem would be to continue at the pace they set for the first half but the half-time team talk by Charlie Wysocki, Eugene Gaughan and David Heaney ensured that the dominance continued.
Craven, with all their efforts, could not get a foothold but, as the rain continually fell, it was more difficult for all players.
Keighley, who were getting to grips with the conditions with a more flexible tactical system started to open up Craven again as they continued to build passing moves and were rewarded again in the 52nd minute when Quintas found the ball at his feet and slotted home from close range.
Craven were still plugging away and a rare chance saw them score a second from Ben Cox before Narey notched his second with some fine play involving substitutes Ben Ramsden and Ciaran Moulds.
With the game safe, Keighley brought on the fresh legs of Joe Meegan, Joshua Hardisty and Jonson Butterfield, who all impressed.
Narey completed a much deserved hat-trick before Ramsden finished off the scoring.
Narey, with his superb all round performance, collected the man of the match award for his ever industrious attitude and clever forward play, which culminated in him scoring a brilliant hat-trick.
Keighley go into their other three group games with confidence but will face much tougher opposition in Wharfedale, Halifax and Bradford.
Coach Wysocki said: ““We went into the game as strong favourites, especially on the back of last season’s result.
“I thought we played much better football overall than last season, which was difficult on a pitch that deteriorated the longer the game progressed.
“The big difference we have is our play in the final third was much more clinical and in Euan Sessford, Pedro Quintas, Ciaran Moulds and Ben Ramsden we have strikers who will cause any opposition problems.
The midfield is also a strong unit and Ryan Narey showed his class with a superb all round performance.
The other pleasing aspect was that we dominated for most of the game, which in football terms, is very difficult as the opposition do not just roll over and give the ball up. We worked extremely hard for possession and used it well with our pass-and-move philosophy.
“The players will gain confidence with each game and we always try to get them to believe in their own ability with a focus on them to take something from the previous game and improve on in the next.”
Keighley: Reece Simpson, Joshua Hardisty, Jonson Butterfield, Alex Daniels, Declan Consoli, Joe Meegan, George Guest, Joshua Brown, Ben Dakin, Joshua Ferguson, Aaron Dickson, Ryan Narey, George Sellars, Jack Cryer, George Brown, Ben Fairburn, Ben Ramsden, Pedro Quintas, Ciaran Moulds, Euan Sessford.