Cup triumph for Town youngsters

Stoke City 1Ipswich Town 2(after extra time)Ipswich Town won through to a home tie in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup with a battling performance at the Britannia Stadium last night, writes David Vincent.

Stoke City 1

Ipswich Town 2

(after extra time)

Ipswich Town won through to a home tie in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup with a battling performance at the Britannia Stadium last night, writes David Vincent.

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Town were stunned by an equaliser with more than 90 minutes on the clock but still pulled themselves up and produced a winner in the first period of extra time.

Captain courageous Liam Craig stepped up to drive a penalty high into the net past keeper Chris Sanna to put Town back in front at 2-1.

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And they had to hang on for much of the additional time and defend bravely against an aerial bombardment.

Town had managed to get their passing game together again during extra time but had to be grateful for a couple of fine saves when substitute Francino Francis had efforts on goal.

Town's second goal came after their own substitute, Liam Trotter, had turned in the Stoke penalty box and chipped to the far side where defender John Quigley lost his head and handled.

Craig had also opened the scoring for Town after just 10 minutes, driving in off a defender after a fine passing move ended with Billy Clarke cutting the ball back.

Town were good value for their half-time lead, after dominating with some crisp passing and movement.

Craig, Clarke and Darryl Knights looked a class above most of the opposition and were always tricky with the ball at their feet.

It was almost like watching the two first teams, Town getting the ball down and passing, even when awarded free-kicks, and the home team going for power and balls in the air.

Earlier, Owen Garvan had seen a shot saved by the home keeper, then Clarke was tripped in the box as he ran on to his own flick but referee Steve Pardoe gave the benefit of the doubt to the defender.

Clarke flicked the ball over a defender to Craig, but the keeper jumped to grab the ball.

Stoke's best chance in the first half fell to Dickerson, who ran on to a clearance, cut in and tested Shane Supple, who had to palm the ball behind. Striker Thomas slipped over and missed the target completely from a good position.

The second half was more even, with chances at both ends. One of the best opportunities fell to Clarke in the box but he was muscled out and then, when he was played in by substitute Haynes, he was denied by the keeper's feet when he was one-on-one.

The tricky Knights also had a couple of efforts saved by the keeper and Town were made to rue those missed chances by the Stoke equaliser. But the Ipswich lads showed their character in extra time. In addition to the penalty they had other good chances which fell to Haynes, Clarke and Trotter.

In the end it was backs-to-the-wall with 10 Stoke players in the Ipswich penalty box for every throw, kick and corner. But Town held out – a just reward for a gutsy performance.

Ipswich will now be at home to the winners of the fourth round tie between Aston Villa and Port Vale which takes place on Thursday, January 20.

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