Alex youngsters suffer late heartbreak in FA Youht Cup
Crewe Alexandra’s youngsters suffered late heartbreak at Bramall Lane to exit the FA Youth Cup at the first round stage. A stoppage time winner from Sheffield United’s full-back George Cantrill ended our hopes in the competition after we had taken a third minute lead through Luke Walley. The Crewe striker had charged down a seemingly lost cause to deflect a clearance from goalkeeper Josh Perryman into an unguarded goal.
Sheffield United continued to press forward though and deservedly drew level on 74 minutes after Jordan Hallam tapped home from close range after Tyler Smith’s shot had hit the Crewe post.
minute. It was a tough way to go out for Crewe Alexandra, who had been handed arguably the most difficult tie in the draw. Sheffield United are top of the category two league with Crewe currently third in the table. stUnited certainly had the better of the second half and the pressure finally told with Tyler Smith crossing for the left-back Cantrill to score from close range in the 91
Kenny Lunt’s Under-18s got off to a flying start at Bramall Lane this evening. After forcing a couple of early corners from the left hand side, Crewe took the lead after just three minutes thanks to Luke Walley’s persistent in closing down a clearance from the Sheffield United goalkeeper Josh Perryman. The eager Walley chased down the goalkeeper and applied a sufficient block on his kick up field to divert it into the unguarded net. It was a fantastic start for the Crewe youngsters.
Walley nearly completed the trick on 20 minutes when another short clearance from Perryman invited him to run at the Sheffield United goal but on this occasion, centre-half Joe Cummings recovered superbly to produce an inch perfect tackle and save the blushes of the young goalkeeper.
A well worked corner almost created a clear opening for the Crewe captain Harry Pickering but his shot was blocked from just inside the box.
The home side certainly enjoyed spells of good possession in the first half and moments after Crewe had taken the lead, they almost equalised with their first attack of merit. The ball eventually broke to Tyler Smith at the far post but his goal bound effort was deflected behind for a corner.
The Alex goalkeeper Scott Wardley was kept busy with a couple of long distance efforts from Smith and Regan Slater but he was equal to them.
With Crewe under some pressure, Cummings also headed inches over the crossbar from a corner.
Full-back George Cantrill was booked for the Blades for a late challenge on Ross Woodcock as he cleared up field and there was a scare when Owen Dale went down under a challenge but after treatment he was able to continue.
An entertaining first half ended with the Alex goalkeeper Wardley punching a late effort off his own crossbar following a free-kick from the right. Wardley got away with one under immense pressure under his own crossbar.
The second half started with a forceful run and shot from Dale that was inches away from making it 2-0 to the Alex. The winger cut in from a wide position and after gliding past a couple of challenges, his shot was just wide.
Crewe striker Lewis Reilly was booked for a late challenge to become the second player to go into the referee’s notebook. Dale became the third for dissent after he felt he was tricked into conceding a free-kick. Sheffield United continued to provide a threat from corners and free-kicks and Wardley was called upon at the far post to help one particularly dangerous cross away from the far post.
On 56 minutes, full-back Woodcock did exceeding well to halt Tyler Smith as Sheffield United threatened to even things up. He managed to get his foot to the ball just as the winger was about to get his close range shot off.
On the hour mark, the hardworking goalscorer Walley was replaced by Regan Griffiths.
Another half chance for the home side then saw Cantrill volley over the top after another threat from a corner dropped to him. The full-back just struggled to keep his effort down enough to ask a question of Wardley.
Crewe’s second change saw Oliver Harrison replace Joel Lynch in midfield.
Crewe were attempting to see the tie out but with 14 minutes remaining, the home side scored the equaliser they probably deserved over the balance of play. Smith curled a wonderful effort from 20 yards that thumped the left hand post and it rebounded perfectly for Jordan Hallam to tap home into an empty goal.
A mad scramble in front of Wardley, saw the Alex goalkeeper do well again to clear from under the crossbar and his defenders reacted well to hook a header from Cummings away from the line. Crewe were hanging on in there.
As we entered the final ten minutes, full-back Offord was forced off through injury, prompting Pickering to move back to left-back and forward Joe Thompson had to enter the fray.
Sheffield United forward Keegan Burton nearly won the tie with a flick header on 83 minutes but his effort struck the Crewe bar. Both Burton and Jamie Wilkinson had wholeheartedly gone in to meet the cross and the collision needed both players to undergo a sustained period of treatment.
With just four minutes left, Wardley was forced to push a cross out into the six-yard box but Burton couldn’t control his shot to guide it home.
With Crewe needing the final whistle and a change to regroup, Hallam went close to a late winner but his curler just cleared the far post.
In stoppage time, the Blades found their winner to progress to round two. Another forceful run from winger Smith saw him deliver a tantalising cross and full-back Cantrill raced in to score from close range.
Sheffield United: Perryman, Charlesworth, Cantrill, Gilmour, Cummings, Graham, Smith, Slater, Burton, Hallam, Greaves
Crewe: Wardley, Woodcock, Offord (Thompson), Lundstram, Wilkinson, Sass-Davies, Pickering, Lynch (Harrison), Reilly, Walley (Griffiths), Dale.
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