Young guns shine as Wisbech suffer added time defeat in county cup
Wisbech Town 2, Cambridge City 3
Cambridgeshire Invitational Cup Quarter Final
There were plenty of positives to take from defeat as a very young Fenmen team suffered an injury time Cup defeat this evening (Tuesday).
Wisbech included five new faces and two recent signings, with many of the squad teenagers, as joint managers Arran Duke and Mark Warren took the chance to look at different options.
Hemel Hempstead loanee keeper Lewis Patching (20) played in goal and made some good saves, while right back Sam Carter was loaned from Holbeach United for the evening and earned the Supporters' Club Man of the Match.
Grantham youngster Josh Burkitt (17) looked assured in central defence, while midfielder Tyler Knowles (18), who was recently given his first professional contract by King's Lynn Town, impressed in midfield and has joined on a month's loan from the National League outfit.
Most impressive were the attacking pair of Enoch Opayinka (17), who signed from Spalding United earlier in the month, and Theo Lukyamuzi (18), who is on work experience from Peterborough United.
They caused City plenty of problems with their pace and trickery and, with Sam Bennett out with a hamstring injury, will both be in contention for a first team place in the relegation six-pointer at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.
Completing the new faces was another young forward, Marley Barrett (18), promoted from the reserves, who also looked lively during his 25 minute substitute appearance.
Wisbech took the lead after 15 minutes when a ball from midfield put Opayinka away and his pace left the visiting defence for dead before his shot was palmed away by keeper Lloyd Barker, only for Lukyamuzi to tap in the rebound.
Five minutes later and a great drive from Thomas Wood levelled for City, but they were only on equal terms for three minutes, a wonderful 25 yard free kick from the other Linnets loanee Joe Gascoigne making it 2-1. The 18-year-old has this week extended his loan until the end of the season.
Ryan Swift fired City level at 2-2 in the 81st minute and then, with Wisbech piling forward looking for a late winner to avoid penalties, Cambridge broke and Swift scored his second in the third minute of injury time.
After the match, Warren said: "We were having a look tonight to see who could step up and there were some very good individual performances. We have some really good positives to take away.
"Enoch is a very young lad who has pace to die for and he is always going to trouble defenders. Theo also came in and did well – they are two fantastic young players.
"Tyler Knowles was excellent and Josh Burkitt played well at centre half and looked so composed and he should be with us in the coming weeks.
"Because it was a cup game they played with freedom and without fear, and we need to take that into league games, because that is our main priority.
"Each game is a huge game but Sutton Coldfield is massive and we have to go there and be really positive and come away with something. We will be full of confidence going there. These players are still upbeat and we can still pull ourselves away from trouble."
Duke added: "We threw a side together tonight and it would have been difficult to expect too much and I think they maybe over-delivered in the first half against a strong City side.
"Enoch and Theo played well and have put themselves in contention for first team starts."
Regarding approaches for new players, he added: "We had positive conversations on Monday with some players we'd put seven days in for and now we will decide who we want to chase. Plus the lads who played tonight would all benefit the squad, although they won't all be involved going forward."
Of the injured players, striker Sam Bennett and right back Aaron Hart will both be missing for a few games with hamstring injuries but captain and left back Liam Marshall and midfielder Sam Murphy should both be fit in time for Saturday.
Wisbech Town: Patching, Carter, Mcleish, Burkitt, Keeble, Gascoigne (Warren 71 mins), Knowles, Allen (Wilson 90), Opayinka (Barrett 65), Lukyanuzi, Vieira. Subs (not used): Maddison,Pearson.
Cambridge City: Barker (George 90), Miles, Wren, Wood, Gent, Ofosu, Swift, Bradley (Maynard 62), Ingrey, Robson, Ugarte-Edwards (Davis 45). Sub (not used): Parr.
Bookings: Opayinka, Mcleish (Wisbech); Wood (Cambridge).
Star man: Tyler Knowles – The Wisbech-based King's Lynn Town midfielder looks a great addition to the squad and made an impressive debut.
- In the other quarter finals,March Town lost 2-0 at Newmarket Town, Histon lost 3-2 at home to Ely City and Soham Town Rangers were beaten 3-1 by visitors Cambridge United Development.