Youngsters win on penalties

by Ashley Houghton

U18 side progress to FA Youth Cup fourth round.

Ipswich Town U18 1 Sunderland U18 1

(AET - Sunderland win 4-2 on penalties)

Sunderland’s under-18 side progressed to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Tom Robson (pictured) was the penalty hero as the young Black Cats secured a 4-2 shoot-out win after the 120 minutes prior was locked at 1-1.

The Tractor Boys held a first-half lead after Jack Willbye had crashed home a curling effort from 35 yards before Lynden Gooch levelled with a fine individual effort in the second half.

Sunderland made two changes to the side that dispatched Bolton Wanderers 7-0 at the Academy of Light in their last outing with Maksymilian Stryjek and Ryan Ellison replacing Peter Burke and Michael Ledger.

The hosts went close to opening the scoring inside the first two minutes as Sunderland started nervously and Byron Lawrence crashed a shot against the crossbar.

The young Black Cats settled into the game after the first ten minutes had passed and captain Martin Smith forced a save from Michael Crowe in the Ipswich goal with a shot from the edge of the area.

Gooch then tested Crowe with an effort of his own on the half-hour before the Tractor Boys went ahead six minutes before the break.

Willbye scored a goal he will remember forever as he sent a looping shot beyond Stryjek and into the Polish stopper’s top left hand corner from 35 yards.

Stryjek made a good save from Lawrence on the stroke of half time as the hosts sensed an opportunity to double their advantage after the initial blow.

George Clarke had a golden opportunity to all-but secure the tie for Ipswich after just five second half minutes but he failed to make contact with Lawrence’s well-weighted cross when well placed inside the area.

And Gooch made the Tractor Boys’ striker regret his miss just moments later as the American striker went on a fine solo run before driving low into Crowe’s bottom left-hand corner.

Clarke curled wide as he looked to make amends for his earlier miss before Stryjek produced his best save of the night to get a faint touch on the ball as Edward Bishop looked to pull the trigger inside the six-yard box.

Cemal Ramadan smashed over from the edge of the area after being on the pitch for only three minutes for the hosts before Nelson’s effort was tipped over by Crowe at the other end.

Rees Greenwood had a great chance to win it for the young Black Cats four minutes from time as the Winlaton-born winger weaved into the area and shot well only to be thwarted by a brave block from Ipswich defender George Fowler.

Extra-time passed with little chances at either end as both sides suffered the effects from the extra 30 minutes, though Stryjek had to be sharp to deny Ramadan when the Ipswich substitute fired across goal.

Neither side gained the advantage after 120 minutes had been played and thus the tie was decided on spot-kicks.

Ramadan and Smith scored each side’s first penalty before Stryjek saved from Lawrence low to his right.

Ethan Robson gave Sunderland the advantage before Kyle Hammond kept the Tractor Boys in the tie with a well-taken kick.

Greenwood maintained the young Black Cats’ lead when he sent a powerful penalty beyond Crowe, and Stryjek was on hand to deny Ipswich skipper Joe Robinson and give Tom Robson the chance to win it for the visitors.

The former Darlington youngster stepped up to coolly convert the final kick and send the jubilant youngsters back to Wearside with their name in the hat for the fourth round draw.

Sunderland: Stryjek, Ellison (Lowrie, 67), T Robson, E Robson, Colquhoun, Beadling, Greenwood, Smith, Nelson, Gooch, McEvoy (Blinco, 78).

Subs not used: Burke, Stinson, Wright.