U18 Report: Blackpool 1-1 Saints (4-2 on pens.)

By SFC Media Tue 16 Jan Blackpool v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Michael Obafemi
Tue 16 Jan 7PM
FA Youth Cup
Blackpool
1
Southampton
1
Blackpool win 4-2 on penalties
Sinclair-Smith [50']
Klarer [18']
Jacobsen [35'] Sumner [106']
Venue: Bloomfield Road | Attendance: 200

Southampton’s FA Youth Cup journey came to a premature end at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night as Craig Fleming and Danny Butterfield’s youngsters lost 4-2 on penalties to Blackpool.

An early strike from Christoph Klarer and a second-half equaliser from Finlay Sinclair-Smith saw the tie finish 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.

Successful spot-kicks from Will Smallbone and Jonathon Afolabi were not enough for Saints as the hosts converted four times to set up a meeting with Ipswich Town in the Fifth Round.

Almost three hours previously, the visitors began the game the stronger and the early endeavour of Fleming and Butterfield’s side ought to have been rewarded inside 10 minutes.

Alex Cull’s long-kick forward found Sean Brennan, via the head of Afolabi, who unselfishly squared for the onrushing Harlem Hale to fire over the bar with goalkeeper Craig Thordarson beaten.

The Tangerines responded by pressing higher up the field and went close themselves shortly afterwards through Jack Newton, the midfielder’s long-range shot kissing the crossbar.

Given the condition of the rapidly deteriorating Bloomfield Road surface, it was of no surprise that the night’s opening goal came from a set-piece.

Skipper Klarer had already sliced wide under pressure from Smallbone’s corner moments earlier but made no mistake on the second time of asking, bundling home Vokins’ delivery at the back-post to hand his team the advantage on 18 minutes.

As the second balls began to go the way of Saints so too did further scoring chances from open play. Hale and Afolabi took turns in springing in behind the home defence shortly before the interval, both unfortunate not to pick out team-mates from the dead-ball line.

More strong pressing from the visiting frontline carved out half-chances for the pair seconds before the break; Hale volleying over the top before Afolabi’s shot found the side-netting after Brennan’s steal and clever back-heel had set Saints on the counter-attack.

With momentum building, the away side were desperately unlucky not to be returning to the dressing room with a two-goal lead as Smallbone’s audacious effort bounced back off the inside of the post in stoppage time.

Christoph Klarer celebrates giving Saints the lead at Bloomfield Road. 

An improved Blackpool emerged for the second half and the hosts quickly found themselves level within five minutes of the restart as Sinclair-Smith drilled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box via a touch from keeper Cull.

The equaliser galvanised the hosts. A dip in Saints intensity followed and Blackpool were soon on top territorially even if scoring chances remained at a premium.

Nonetheless, a second away goal remained the more likely outcome, evidenced by Afolabi squirting wide from the angle on 70 minutes after beating marker Tom Williams for pace and power.

Dylan Sumner blasted over the bar from the edge of the box and Afolabi tamely headed wide from a Smallbone corner as the tie entered the last ten minutes of normal time with neither side staking a claim for a spot in the Fifth Round.

By now, the hosts were firmly in the ascendency; a last-ditch challenge from Harrison Davis prevented Owen Watkinson from going one-on-one with Cull and Sinclair-Smith sliced off target as extra-time loomed large.

Home goalkeeper Thordarson expertly denied Smallbone and Brennan on the rebound three minutes after the restart in the middle of a hailstorm but the teams were not to be separated.

Brendan O’Brien’s desperate sliding interception on substitute Enzo Robise confirmed that penalties were indeed on the way.

Roache, Smallbone and Jaaskelainen all converted before Vokins was denied by Thordarson. A miss from Blackpool’s Sumner gave Saints hope after Afolabi and O’Brien had made the scores 3-2 only for Michael Obafemi’s miss to allow Jacobsen to send Blackpool through to the Fifth Round.

Blackpool

1
Craig Thordarson (GK)
2
Thomas Williams
3
Ben Jacobsen (C)
4
Jack Newton
5
Will Avon
6
Dylan Sumner
7
Nana Adarkwa
Brendan O'Brien (95′)
8
Rowan Roache
9
Owen Watkinson
Emil Jaaskelainen (105′)
10
Jay Sinclair-Smith
11
Nathan Shaw
12
Harry Winstanley
13
Harvey Simson
14
Brendan O'Brien
15
Lewis Wainwright
16
Emil Jaaskelainen

Southampton

1
Alex Cull (GK)
2
Harrison Davis
3
Jake Vokins
4
Javen Siu
5
Kayne Ramsay
Kameron Ledwidge (117′)
6
Christoph Klarer (C)
7
Harlem Hale
Enzo Robise (99′)
8
Will Smallbone
9
Michael Obafemi
10
Sean Brennan
Kornelius Hansen (115′)
11
Jonathan Afolabi
12
Enzo Robise
13
Adam Parkes
14
Kornelius Hansen
15
Kameron Ledwidge
16
Dan Bartlett
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