AET – Sheffield United win 4-2 on penalties
City’s brave effort at Bramall Lane in the FA Youth Cup first round eventually ended in a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss to Sheffield United.
Saved penalties from City’s Sumaili Cissa and Daniel Devine unfortunately meant a hard-working and enterprising display from the Bantams’ under 18s couldn’t prevent an early exit from this season’s competition.
With assistant boss Steve Parkin and goalkeeper coach Lee Butler watching on from the stands, the defeat was harsh on City, who had more than held their own throughout the entire 120 minutes of normal time and extra time before their fate was cruelly decided on penalties.
Bantams manager Phil Parkinson was in London to watch this Saturday’s opponents Millwall host Doncaster Rovers in Sky Bet League 1.
After some early spells of territorial pressure from the hosts, the first real opening of the tie came via the head of Blades skipper Shea Gordon.
Jordan Hallam’s searching corner delivery found the midfielder in a spot of space deep inside the box but his far post header on the stretch flew wide.
Hallam was involved again shortly afterwards when his pass played in Tyler Smith but the winger’s centre across the six yard box was just in front of everyone.
Despite those openings for United, however, the best scoring chance of the first twenty minutes undoubtedly went to the Bantams thanks to a fine effort from Reece Webb-Foster.
From City captain Luca Mellor’s long throw-in, Webb-Foster wriggled free of Jo Cummings before producing a superb looping half-volley from the edge of the box that a back-tracking Aaron Ramsdale did well to tip over.
Just past the half hour mark, Hallam set off on a threatening run which was halted by a well-timed tackle from Alex Laird. The ball broke free to Stephen Mallon just outside the box but his low drive was straight at George Sykes-Kenworthy.
Shortly after drawing a foul from Cummings which earned the Blades defender a booking, Cissa was given a brief sight of goal as the ball was laid back to him by Webb-Foster but his rising drive from just outside the box sailed harmlessly over.
Webb-Foster himself took aim in City’s next attack but his effort from an angle just inside the box was lashed high and wide.
Brodie Litchfield’s searching cross at the other end picked out Smith in promising spot inside the box but Laird was thankfully well-positioned and on hand to make an important tackle.
Litchfield nearly made Sykes-Kenworthy pay for a moment of hesitancy but the shot-stopper’s eventual attempted clearance deflected off the Blades striker and into the path of Kesi Omolokun, who kicked clear up field.
Into the second period, and City made a bright start after the restart. Kwame Boateng’s cross into the six yard box from the very first attack of the second period nearly found Cissa lurking but the ball narrowly beat him by the near post.
With City continuing to look threatening when they could get forward, Ellis Hudson set off on an enterprising run deep into United’s box ten minutes after the interval that was eventually only stopped by a block from Cummings.
Hudson looked to turn provider shortly afterwards when his searching cross into the box found Webb-Foster lurking but his downward header from around eight yards out bounced wide of Ramsdale’s far post.
Although City were looking promising in attack at the start of the second half, United could, and perhaps should, have took the lead shortly after the hour mark.
Tom Charlesworth’s low cross into the middle found Litchfield but his effort from close range was turned onto the post by Sykes-Kenworthy.
With the ball rolling across the line, Litchfield tried to scramble in the rebound but somehow a combination of Sykes-Kenworthy and Laird denied him before Omolokun cleared behind for a corner.
Smith tried to force the issue for the hosts fifteen minutes before the end of normal time with a purposeful run into the area but his low drive was straight at Sykes-Kenworthy.
Five minutes later, however, Mellor let rip for City with a thunderous drive from around twenty-five yards that pinged off the top of Ramsdale’s crossbar and behind for a goal-kick.
The Bantams threatened again when Daniel Devine latched onto a poor throw-out by Ramsdale and drove into the box but his shot on goal was smothered by United’s defence.
As the game headed towards extra-time, Sykes-Kenworthy had to be alert to tip away a testing cross from Graham Kelly before the ‘keeper held onto Gordon’s long-range drive seconds later.
United had one last chance to prevent the tie from going into a further thirty-minute spell but a combination of Cummings and Litchfield managed to head behind by the far post following Smith’s flighted wide free-kick delivery.
With tie now in extra time, Litchfield managed to keep a free-kick alive inside City’s penalty area and the striker’s eventual effort on goal flashed narrowly over Sykes-Kenworthy’s bar.
Litchfield was involved again a minute or so later when he contested for the ball just outside the area, allowing Blades substitute Spencer Maw to get in a strike that is held by Sykes-Kenworthy.
The Bantams made their first substitution of the night just before the start of the second period of extra time, with Reece Powell replacing Niah Payne.
Powell was involved in an opening for City in the second period itself but the sub poked wide inside the box after Webb-Foster had knocked down Omolokun’s free-kick into his path.
Xander McBurnie then had a drive straight at Ramsdale from just outside the box five minutes before the end of extra time.
There was still time for Hudson to force a smart low save to his left from Ramsdale after being played into space by Webb-Foster, whilst Powell also saw his low centre across the six yard box put behind for a corner.
City couldn’t sneak a late winner, however, meaning the tie when to penalties.
|Gordon scored (1-0)
||Webb-Foster scored (1-1)
|Ramsdale scored (2-1)
||Cissa saved (2-1)
|Semple scored (3-1)
||McBurnie scored (3-2)
|Litchfield scored (4-2)
||Devine saved (4-2)
CITY LINE UP:
1. George Sykes-Kenworthy
2. Kwame Boateng
3. Luca Mellor
4. Daniel Devine
5. Alex Laird
6. Kesi Omolokun
7. Niah Payne
8. Xander McBurnie
9. Reece Webb-Foster
10. Sumaili Cissa
11. Ellis Hudson
12. Chandler Hallwood
14. Sam Wright
15. Casey Taglione
16. Reece Powell
17. Neil Patience
Powell for Payne (106)
Boateng (57), McBurnie (90)