Crewe Alexandra U18s v Posh U18s

Posh U18s beaten on penalties in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.

It was a spirited performance at the Mornflake Stadium as Peterborough United U18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the first round after losing 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the 120 minutes.

There was no questioning the character from Jimmy Unwin’s side, finding themselves 1-0 down and also down to 10 men with 15 minutes left on the clock, but up stepped Harley Mills with a brilliant effort to send it to extra time before a battling 30 minutes to take the category two academy side to penalties.

The first opportunity fell on nine minutes and fell in favour of Posh as Mills, who was brought down on the far left-hand side, sent a low free-kick into the box, but Torin Ntege and Tyler Winters were unable to tap home before the hosts’ goalkeeper collected the ball.

The Railwaymen broke the deadlock on 12 minutes through Callum Aguis after some good work in the box to create space for himself, sending a low-driven effort into the far bottom corner. Winters was cautioned by the referee after a high-foot inside the opposition box.

Posh responded well after falling behind at the Mornflake Stadium, enjoying spells of possession but just failed to test Mikolja Lenarcik in between the sticks for the hosts. However, it was West who was called into action next, an in-swinging free-kick from the right-hand side was met by a stretching Nathan Robinson and his poked effort was pushed around the post by West.

Ntege looked to test the hosts’ goalkeeper, but his curling effort from the edge of the box was comfortable while Winters saw his effort blocked by Robinson after he was picked out by a low cross from Dennis Kelmendi.

The Railwaymen rattled the woodwork in the opening stages of the second half as Luca Moore’s mis-hit cross bounced off the top of the crossbar, while Ben Furlong saw his effort deflected off Ollie Rose and into the hands of West.

Unwin made his first change of the evening on 58 minutes as Joel Odei-Larbi replaced Kelmendi, becoming an instant threat down the right-hand side, and George Holley made way for Trialist, as Posh continued to push for an equaliser.

West produced the heroics on 75 minutes to keep Posh in the tie. The hosts were awarded a penalty after Rose was penalised for a foul on Aguis, he stepped up to take the spot-kick and West guessed the correct way to deny the forward. Matters were made difficult just a few minutes later as Winters was shown a second yellow card - once again for a high-foot -  and Posh found themselves down to 10.

That motivated the young Posh side and they grabbed the equaliser with eight minutes left on the clock, Mills regained possession in midfield and advanced forward before curling an effort, from around 25 yards out, past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net, forcing the game into extra-time.

Luke Gilbert had a big opportunity to put Posh ahead in the opening stages of the next 30 minutes as Mills’ lofted cross found the defender at the back-post, but he sent his header over the bar. West was called into action by Jordan Hodkin and Will Perry before Rhys Allport headed narrowly wide of the post from a corner.

Unsurprisingly, both sides struggled with cramps and tiredness in the final 15 minutes, with Allport’s header from a corner the only notable chance in the second part of extra-time.

The game headed to penalties and the first nine were composed finishes from the spot-kick, with Ollie Rose, Mills, Ntege and Beech all scoring for Posh. Hodkin made it five out of five for hosts before Joe Toynton stepped up to take it to sudden death, but his penalty was saved by Lenarcik.

Posh XI: West, Gilbert, Rose, Toynton, Mills, Holley (Trialist, 64min), Marcon (Beech, 76min), Kelmendi (Odei-Larbi, 58min (Fox, 91min), Davies, Winters, Ntege.

Subs Not Used: Sakalas, McWilliams-Marcano, Atkins.