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Thatcham manager Romeo proud of young side, despite blowing 4-1 lead

NINE goals, two hat-tricks, one red card.

It was, as Thatcham Town manager Yashwa Romeo said, ‘a crazy game’.

Unfortunately for Romeo, it was his injury-hit side that

finished on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline against promotion-chasing Marlow in the Isthmian League South Central.

And that was after the Kingfishers had led 4-1 at half-time.

Marlow pulled one back early in the second half and then piled on the pressure to overhaul the young home side.

Romeo said: “It was a crazy game, but we can learn a lot from it.

“We got off to a brilliant start, then after they pegged us back, we scored some good goals and went 4-1 up very quickly.

“But I have been in football long enough to know that the game was not over at half-time.

“I warned my team that we had to weather the storm early on in the second half, but they scored and then they absolutely bombarded us for the rest of the half.”

The Kingfishers had taken the lead after just six minutes, Jordi Ebanda getting the first goal of a first-half hat-trick.

Although Dawid Rogalski levelled from the spot on 22 minutes, Thatcham produced some excellent football to go 4-1 up through Sam Tanner and two more from Ebanda.

Marlow’s David Tarpey reduced the deficit four minutes into the second half then Rogalski made it 4-3 with his 39th goal of the season.

Ten minutes from time Kai Hamilton-Olise drew Marlow level.

Then, after Thatcham’s Callum Winchcombe was sent off for a late tackle, in the 91st minute Rogalski completed the second hat-trick of the afternoon to seal the comeback.

Romeo, although disappointed to see a 4-1 lead disappear, was full of praise for his young side.

He said: “We had 11 players out through injury or suspension and a lot of those who did play are only 18 or 19.

“I think it’s important to say that, even without all those players missing, we have still been able to mix it with the big boys in the division.

“We drew with leaders Chertsey over Easter and then took Marlow all the way.

“The boys are a credit to the team for all the work they put in and I am proud of all of them.”

Romeo reserved special praise for 16-year-old youth team keeper Ethan Wilson, who was thrust into the firing line.

He said: “Ethan did well to save a penalty and that was a good moment for him.

“But Marlow bombarded us with long throws – they were relentless.”

Injuries have left Thatcham up against it in 2024.

And Romeo said: “We have not had a settled back four since Curtis Angell left in January.

“We’ve had to field a young side and it has been a learning curve for a lot of them.

“We have three games left and they are all winnable – I still think we will finish in the top 10.

“I have to pick the boys up again for the last few matches.”

Thatcham visit Met Police on Saturday and then travel to Chipstead the following week before ending their league campaign with a home game against Sutton Common Rangers on April 27

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