U18s produce sensational comeback at Hillsborough...
STOKE CITY’S U18s scored three goals in four minutes as they came from 2-0 down to secure a place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup on a chilly night in South Yorkshire.
Sheffield Wednesday had looked to be on course to meet Everton in the next round as they seemingly took control of the contest with goals from Eyad Hammoud and Lewis Farmer.
But a quite remarkable goal blitz turned the game on its head and it’s the Potters who will be hosting Everton at the bet365 Stadium in the New Year.
The impressive Abdoulaye Toure gave City hope and it was very much game on when James Jennings levelled matters less than 60 seconds later.
And a place in the next round was secured when substitute Daniel Malone found the net direct from a wide free-kick whipped in from the right to make it 3-2.
It was a sensational finish to the contest and Richard Walker’s youngsters deserve great credit for their never-say-die attitude.
The visitors, watched by manager Gary Rowett and members of his coaching staff, made a bright start and created the first meaningful opportunity of the game after eight minutes. Ethon Varian was sent clear after a well-worked move but his shot was blocked for a corner by goalkeeper Josh Render.
City were just inches away from taking the lead through Toure soon afterwards. The livewire winger did everything right but he saw his shot hit one post before rolling across the line and striking the opposite post.
A mistake by goalkeeper Nathan Broome almost gifted Wednesday an opener. The goalkeeper squandered possession just outside his area to Hammoud but he spared his own blushes by managing to block for a corner.
Toure was involved again in City’s next promising move, sending Jennings clear but Render timed his challenge in the penalty area to perfection to smother the danger.
Wednesday opened the scoring four minutes before the break as Hammoud’s shot beat Broome and found the bottom left hand corner of the City net.
The Potters made their first change with just over 20 minutes left as Malone replaced Adam Porter but it was Wednesday sub Farmer who initially stole the limelight as he doubled Wednesday’s lead by firing through a crowd of bodies.
The woodwork denied the Owls a third as Conor Grant crashed a free-kick against the bar … and that was the cue for the City fightback as moments later they were back in the contest as Toure fired past Render.
They were level less than 60 seconds later as Jennings turned home close range from Max Murphy’s low cross from the right and they were in dreamland when Malone bagged what proved to be the match-winner.
He whipped in a free-kick from a tight angle fully 40 yards out and watched in delight as it sailed over head of Render to set the seal on a memorable night in Sheffield.