Lordan strikes stun Saints
Southampton 2Ipswich Town 2Ipswich Town and Southampton produced a magnificent advertisement for Academy football as they shared the spoils in last night FA Youth Cup Final first leg at St Mary's Stadium last night.
By Dave Vincent
Ipswich Town 2
Ipswich Town and Southampton produced a magnificent advertisement for Academy football as they shared the spoils in last night FA Youth Cup Final first leg at St Mary's Stadium last night.
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The crowd of almost 10,000 fans, and the many more watching at home on Sky Sports, were thrilled by the display of passion and passing by some of the young stars of the future.
The visitors provided tremendous skill on the ball and ball-retention, while the Saints were more about strength and getting the ball forward quickly to powerful front runners Theo Walcott and David McGoldrick.
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The first half was more even, although Ipswich had the ball more often, but the home side had the clearer chances.
Both goalkeepers had to produce fine saves to keep the score 0-0. Shane Supple, for Town, was out at the feet of Walcott at the end of another speedy run while, at the other end, Andrew McNeil denied Darryl Knights one-on-one after he had been played clear by Cathal Lordan.
Saints had the ball in the net after 26 minutes but the flag was up for offside, when McGoldrick played the ball beyond the defence for Walcott, who finished well with a powerful shot - but the effort counted for nothing.
For Ipswich, Lordan had a powerful shot blocked and Liam Craig was twice off target with long shots.
Supple then produced a great save to deny Walcott from only eight yards out, after he was played in by Tim Sparv, and Synnott cleared the ball away.
Ipswich had a period of controlled passing as half time approached and the Saints were struggling to clear a corner.
But with two minutes added on at the end the half, the home side took the lead from the penalty spot.
McGoldrick knocked the ball forward again for Walcott to run clear and as he made it into the penalty box Aidan Collins tripped him from behind and referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty. McGoldrick stepped up to hammer it past Supple.
Only three minutes after the restart Ipswich levelled. Liam Trotter bent the ball right-footed down the left wing for Knights to run on to. He controlled well and cut the ball back for Lordan, who rifled his shot into the top corner from 25 yards.
Town were passing the ball really well while still Saints were going the direct route.
Ipswich went ahead after 59 minutes, with another fine goal. Trotter and Knights linked up again and when Knight cut the ball across the face of goal and Lordan crashed it home from the angle beyond the far post.
Ipswich had more chances to punish the home side as the home defence lived dangerously.
Saints were level again after 62 minutes. McGoldrick linked with Best and played in Walcott again. He was denied by a brave save from Supple but the ball ran loose and the alert Best was able to curl it into the empty net.
With the Saints boosted by the equaliser, crosses began to rain in and test the Town defence, especially centre-halves Chris Casement and Collins.
Town might have scored themselves but they couldn't make the final pass tell.
Ipswich gradually freshened the side, bringing on Danny Haynes for the injured Michael Synnott and then Blair Hammond for the exhausted Knights.
As the game passed into the final five minutes, Southampton were still searching for a lead to take to Portman Road on Friday for the second leg of this final but Ipswich battled right to the final whistle and deservedly continued to hold them at bay.
Last night's teams
Southampton: McNeil, Richards, Wallis-Taylor, Rudd, Cranie, James, Walcott, Sparv, Best, (Condesso, 83 minutes), McGoldrick, Dyer, Unused subs: Jones, Bale, Dutton-Black, Lallana
Ipswich: Supple, Moore, Synnott (Haynes), Krause, Casement, Collins, Lordan, Trotter (Sherringham, 90 minutes), Knights (Hammond), Garvan, Craig
Referee: Mr A Marriner