Bright teenage Baffins Milton Rovers prospects make step up as striker Owen Pelham ends hectic day by bagging League Cup winner against Romsey Town
Manager Shaun Wilkinson heaped praise on his quartet of Baffins Milton Rovers bright young things after his men progressed past Romsey Town in the Wessex League Cup last night.
Teenager Owen Pelham, just 16, bagged the winner five minutes from time with Baffins wrapping up a 2-1 home triumph over division lower Romsey in the third round meeting.
Young gun Pelham was one of four of the clubs under-18s players to end the evening on the pitch at the PMC Stadium with goalkeeper Bailey Neal handed a start while Harvey Wellham and Oscar Deans - all 16 - got run-outs off the bench.
Wilkinson could not have been happier with their efforts out on the field mixing it at senior level.
And Pelham grabbed his winner after a 30-minute cameo having completed a full fixture for his college side earlier in the day.
Wilkinson beamed: ‘We ended the game again with four 16-year-olds on the pitch. Obviously I was really pleased for Owen to go and get the winner at the end. It just sums up him and the under-18s and their attitude.
‘The lad (Owen) has gone and played 90 minutes in the daytime for his college then he’s climbed off the bench and given us loads of energy for half-an-hour and got the winner.
‘But he wasn’t the only one, young Harvey (Welham) played 90 minutes he was excellent, Bailey Neal played 90 minutes and he was excellent, we had big Oscar Deans come on for half-an-hour at the end and he’s got his first senior appearance - I was pleased for them all - they play for the under-18s but they’re all 16.’
Wilkinson was not overly impressed with his side's showing overall, but was relieved to see Baffins book their spot in the quarter-final of the competition.
Alex Przespolewski's 21st-minute opener was cancelled out by John Cole's strike after 67 minutes.
Yet, with penalties looming, Pelham netted his first senior goal five minutes from time to send Baffins through to the last-eight.
Wilkinson believes both Pelham and his fellow under-18s prospects have the potential for big futures if they keep on the same path they're currently on.
He said: ‘If they continue to listen, continue to improve and continue to work hard (could have bright futures). Most of the things with the lads at this age is about their attitudes. Their attitudes are spot-on, you don’t get a problem with them when they come in with us, they knuckle down, work hard and listen now they’re starting to see the rewards.’