Four 16-year-olds help Baffins Milton Rovers through to quarter-finals of Wessex League Cup

Shaun Wilkinson praised a 16-year-old quartet as Baffins Milton Rovers progressed to the quarter-finals of the Wessex League Cup.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 9th September 2021, 9:55 am
Baffins teenage keeper Bayley Neil in action against Infinity last night. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Baffins teenage keeper Bayley Neil in action against Infinity last night. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Premier Division high-fliers survived a few anxious moments - twice trailing in the first half - to beat lower division Infinity 4-2 at the PMC Stadium last night.

Tommy Scutt (2), Jamie Clark and sub Harvey Welham were on target in an entertaining second round tie.

It was 2-2 at half-time and remained that way until Scutt converted an 82nd minute spot-kick.

Baffins (blue) v Infinity. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Welham - one of three 16-year-olds introduced off the bench in the second half alongside Joe Tyrell and Owen Pelham - added an even later fourth.

Another 16-year-old, goalkeeper Bayley Neil, played the 90 minutes - as he had done in a Hampshire Senior Cup win at Brockenhurst last month.

Boss Wilkinson said: ‘In the first half we were a bit slow, a bit sloppy. To be fair, Infinity had a real go at us in the first half.

‘But in the second half we moved the ball better, we dominated - I don’t think they got out of their half. Fitness told in the end.

Infinity's Wayne Boud, right, keeps a close eye on a Baffins player. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘The young lads are only 16 - they’re not 17 for a while. I’ll have no hesitation in using them again.

‘It’s all about managing them, you can’t throw them in all the time - but some are getting close to making the first team squad (for Wessex League games).’

Infinity had twice led through Jamie White and Joe McLean and boss Wayne Grant - in only his second game in charge - was taking the positives.

The former Paulsgrove manager had overseen a 2-1 Wessex 1 win at Whitchurch in his opening match, and last night made six changes (Baffins also made six).

Baffins (blue) v Infinity. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘It was good,’ he declared. ‘The performances have been improving in the few weeks I’ve been there.

‘It’s a transition time for the players. They’ve been used to playing a certain way and now it’s a blank canvas again.’

Infinity are looking stronger now White - a prolific scorer in the Hampshire Premier League in recent years - has recovered from injury and ex-Fareham Town regular Wayne Boud is available again after a long suspension.

Kurt Watts, once of Gosport Borough, is also back from injury.

Josh Dean, right, clears for Baffins. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Grant hasn’t brought in any new faces yet, but that should change in the coming weeks now he and assistant Lee Jones have had a good look at the squad they have inherited.

‘We like a high press, we like to get the ball down and play. We play to our strengths, I want the players to believe in our game plan.’

Infinity host a Waterside derby against second-from-bottom Fawley this Saturday, while Baffins host Andover Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase.