Isledon Wolves boys aim to catch the eye against Football League opponents
- Credit: Archant
Isledon Wolves coach John Powles is hoping the Under-16s’ packed pre-season schedule could bring their star players to the attention of Football League scouts.
The Under-16s, who won championships in both the Camden & Islington League and Harrow Youth League last season, kicked off a busy summer programme by taking on Oxford United’s Academy side on Saturday.
Wolves matched their opponents for most of the game at Market Road before conceding two minutes from time to lose 3-2 – the first of seven friendlies against Football League academies over the coming weeks.
Cambridge, AFC Wimbledon and Chesterfield will all face the Islington side before the end of July, with games against Luton and Yeovil to come next month.
Powles said: “We’re going on a bit of a road trip and these will all be games for the boys to showcase their talents. We’ve got an excellent crop of boys and they’ve all got something to give.
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“In a way it’s sad that they won’t be in the Camden & Islington League any more, but they need to play at a more challenging level, hence the reason for all these games against academy standard teams.
“From what I saw, we had a few players that could definitely slot into the Oxford side.
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“The club’s always produced talent and we’re concentrating on the younger age groups now, hopefully bringing a few more through.”
In a match played over four quarters, Oxford took the lead after just four minutes but full-back Pedro Dias equalised soon afterwards, stealing in to volley home a curling free-kick from Nicky Marshall.
Anthony Dengo played a ball through for Yasen Mulumba to drill home and give the Wolves a 2-1 lead on the hour mark.
But the home side appeared to tire during the later stages and Oxford levelled early in the fourth quarter before snatching the winner on the break.
“We controlled the game for the first three quarters, but the players got a little bit ragged and probably didn’t manage the game as well as they should have in the fourth quarter,” added Powles.
“There are a few players away for school and family reasons, so if we’d had a full squad we could have freshened it up with more substitutes. But we showed a little bit of inexperience at the end as well.”