Youngsters Exit Cup But Push Arsenal All The Way
The Crewe Alexandra youth side came within a whisker of knocking Arsenal out of the FA Youth Cup this evening.
The Alex youngsters led three times in what sounded an exciting match at Barnet's Underhill Stadium but lost out in the end on the dreaded penalty shootout.
Crewe's Joe O'Sullivan opened the scoring with a penalty on 24 minutes after a bright first quarter of the match from the Railwaymen, but it took less than five minutes for Arsenal to peg things back with a header from a corner.
Arsenal are current holders of the cup having run away with it last season but that wasn't to phase the young Alex side. Five minutes into the second half and O'Sullivan turned provider for Harry Davis, son of assistant manager Steve, to head home from a corner.
At 2-1 Crewe's defence held firm but for a corner 10 minutes from time to be converted - heartbreak and consigning the game to extra time.
After a nerve racking first period of extra time the goals flowed again as the second half got under way. Harry Davis scoring again to give Crewe what seemed to be the winner. If only. Another Arsenal corner with five minutes left on the clock once again did the damage - 3-3 and the game was to be decided on penalties.
Jason Oswell, Harry Davis, Max Clayton and Sean Cooke all converted their penalties whilst Arsenal scooped the first of their four over the bar giving Crewe advantage going into the fifth round of pens. Unluckily Crewe's Andy White's match winning effort was saved whilst Arsenal drew things level.
Into sudden death and a miss from Cheyenne Dunkley gave advantage to Arsenal, an advantage they took as they converted their 6th and final match winning penalty.
Arsenal go on to play Ipswich in the next round but the Alex youngsters can hold their head high. Few youth sides outside the Premiership would be more than a match for Arsenal, one of the world's best youth sides.
The result goes to show that the current crop in the academy are a credit to themselves and to the club and with a bit more luck the cup holders would have been knocked out this evening.