REPORT: Heartbreak as Suffolk FA youths lose 3-2 in extra time to Lancashire in FA County Youth Cup Final
- Credit: Archant
FA County Youth Cup Final Suffolk FA 2 Lancashire FA 3 (aet) Suffolk FA Under-18s were left heartbroken by a late extra-time winner as Lancashire FA lifted the FA County Youth Cup.
Substitute Cory Bent stabbed home in the 117th minute to clinch a 3-2 victory for the visitors at Portman Road on Saturday.
Suffolk settled from the start and took the lead with just five minutes gone, Harrison Ford latching onto a defensive header and finding the net with a low left-foot shot.
Lancashire gradually got back into the game and visiting skipper Joe Noblet saw his shot deflect off Stefano Mallardo and onto the crossbar with goalkeeper James Bradbrook wrong-footed.
Indecision in the Suffolk defence in the 25th minute almost cost them dear as Jon Carver left a through ball and Jack Williams got in behind him and was brought down by Bradbrook as he came out of his area.
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With Carver having got back goal-side referee Kevin Johnson deemed the keeper was not the last man and issued a yellow, rather than a red, card to Bradbrook.
However, Lancashire were level five minutes later as Jake Higham showed great close control to wriggle past three defenders and reach the byline, before pulling the ball back to Williams to slide home.
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It came as no real surprise to see Lancashire take the lead five minutes before the break, Higham’s cross causing confusion in the home defence and when the ball reached Joel Khambay he picked his spot.
Suffolk were level after 57 minutes when Sam Thrower, who had only been on the pitch for a minute, climbed well at the far post to head home fellow substitute Jack Newman’s lofted cross.
Suffolk were in the ascendency now and Newman came close to giving them the lead with a curling right-foot effort that was heading for the top corner until Marcus Burgess clawed it away.
With players tiring and picking up knocks in extra-time, the final appeared to be heading for penalties until Lancashire struck the decisive blow.
Suffolk twice failed to clear their lines and when Noblet’s cross fell to Bent he stabbed home via the inside of Bradbrook’s left-hand post.
Suffolk FA: James Bradbrook, Matt West (sub Jack Newman, 47 mins), Stefano Mallardo, Brendon Heath, Ben Hope, Jon Carver, Harrison Ford (sub Sam Thrower, 57 mins – sub Scott Kemp, 80 mins), James Crisell, Cameron Ward, Ace Howell, Tevan Allen. Unused subs: Harry Wales, Max Planck.
Lancashire FA: Marcus Burgess, Callum Cooke, Jake Higham, Daniel Vincent, Ben Southwell, Wesley Benjamin, Josh Smith, Joe Noblet, Jack Williams (sub Cory Bent, 71 mins), Joel Khambay (sub Tom Hartley, 62 mins – sub Rob Hutton, 83 mins), Regan Linney. Unused subs: Shaun Nightingale, Liam Skinner.
Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset FA).