January 16, 2015 by bluenosebible
Blackpool U18s 1-2 Birmingham City U18s (A.E.T)
Written by: Oliver Osborn
Birmingham City under-18s are through in the FA Youth Cup after a fourth round victory over Blackpool.
The game finished all square in normal time, but Kyle MacFarlane’s strike on the stroke of the interval in extra time sealed the victory for the away side.
Sam Deadfield had given Blues an early lead, but the game was taken to extra time when Blackpool found an equaliser late on.
In the swirling wind of West Lancashire, Steve Spooner’s side set up in a 4-3-1-2 formation with George O’Neil playing just behind Kyle MacFarlane and David Popa in attack.
The visitors almost got off to the perfect start as O’Neil had an effort crash against the bar outside the area.
From a corner that quickly followed, Deadfield opening the scoring just five minutes into the game.
Blackpool failed to clear the danger and the midfielder picked up the ball.
The 18-year-old’s left footed effort did have the help of a slight deflection, but that didn’t take anything from a clean strike that found the bottom corner.
Popa almost double their lead soon after as the Romanian signed earlier this season from Bury raced towards goal from the halfway line, but could only drag his effort wide of goalkeeper Daniel Milton’s right hand post.
With Blackpool boss Lee Clark in attendance, the home side began to settle into the match.
Right winger Henry Cameron was playing just a few days since signing his first professional contract at the Seasiders and looked dangerous on several occasions running with the ball down the touchline.
Blues continued to create a series of chances and Popa had a one-on-one well blocked by Milton as after the striker broke past the defence.
As half-time approached, Blackpool made an opportunity against the run of play for themselves as Dom Telford forced Jake Weaver into a good save at the near post.
Even after the break, the visitors were still able to cause the Seasiders problems.
Charlie Cooper couldn’t re-enact his previous efforts from the last round where he’d scored two free kicks against QPR, with a dead ball that flew just wide within minutes of the restart.
Kyle MacFarlane had been a thorn in Blackpool’s side throughout the first-half due to his runs down the channels and great hold-up play.
The latter gave Kieran Dunbar a good chance to double Blues’ lead, but Milton was forced into a good diving save by the midfielder.
Then, as so often happens in football, Birmingham were made to pay for their missed chances as Blackpool scrambled home from Cameron’s corner with twenty minutes remaining.
The equaliser opened up the game with both sides looking to score a late winner without needing extra-time or penalties.
Blackpool’s Bright Samuel almost did just that as the fourth official was looking up three minutes of additional time.
The winger made a superb run down the left, but with just the goalkeeper to beat he could only blaze his attempt over from a tight angle.
Had Samuel’s taken the chance; Blues would have rued their missed chances.
But MacFarlane found a winner just before half time in the additional half hour which was reward for his hard work leading the line.
The striker latched onto a ball over the top from Wes Harding and calmly looped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and into an empty net.
As much as the home side tried, they couldn’t find a late goal that would take the game to penalties.
A late from Cameron struck the crossbar, but Birmingham merited the victory.
Blues will now take on either Liverpool or Derby County in the fifth round.
Starting line up: Weaver; Cotton, Harding, Bernard, Seddon; Dunbar (O’Keefe 90′), Cooper, Deadfield (Potter 39′); O’Neil; MacFarlane, Popa (Bailey 65′)
Subs not used: Smith, Martin