Liverpool’s youth team retained the FA Youth Cup by deservedly beating Man United at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
Robbie Threlfall’s goal proved the only goal on the night, putting the match into extra time after United had won the first leg 2-1 at Anfield last week.
The match ended 2-2 on aggregate after extra time and so it went to penalties at the Stretford End. Goalkeeper David Roberts saved United’s first and when United captain Sam Hewson missed with the Reds leading 4-3, Liverpool had won the Youth Cup for the second year running.
Congratulations to the young Reds!
Liverpool deservedly clinched the FA Youth Cup for the third time but eventually required spot-kicks to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.Trailing 2-1 from the home leg, Steve Heighway’s men were the better side throughout and hauled themselves level on aggregate thanks to Robbie Threlfall’s 55th-minute strike.
This Is Anfield will have a tribute to Steve Heighway running over the next week detailing his playing and coaching days for the club.
Despite hitting the post twice, the Merseysiders were unable to force a winner but still emerged triumphant in front of new co-owner George Gillett, netting all four of their penalties, while Magnus Eikrem and skipper Sam Hewson missed for United.
It was only the second time in the prestigious tournament’s 55-year history the outcome was decided by penalties.
On the previous occasion, Phil Neville skippered United to victory against Spurs but this time, with Sir Alex Ferguson watching on, the Red Devils were denied in front of a 24,347 crowd.
Liverpool never gave the impression they felt out of the contest, although the lack of a cutting edge in attack spoiled some good approach play.
United were happy to use the pace of Febian Brandy and Daniel Wellbeck on the counter-attack, both of whom failed to find the target with half-chances.
It was not until the second-half the game really got going though.
Brandy wasted an excellent opportunity to tie up ultimate victory when he found himself clean through on the visitors’ goal, only to roll his shot straight at David Roberts.
Liverpool responded to the let-off in positive fashion and after Ron-Robert Zieler had done well to turn Craig Lindfield’s shot onto the post, Ryan Flynn belted the rebound over.
The goal the Merseysiders craved arrived not long afterwards though, with Threlfall finding the net in clinical fashion, shaking off the memory of his nightmare own goal in the first leg last week.
Liverpool just about stayed on top for the remainder of the 90 minutes, aided by the exit of Wellbeck, who limped off midway through the half.
But the visitors were made to wait until extra-time for their next clear sight of goal as Lindfield beat Zieler with an angled drive that bounced back off the post.
Lindfield then scooped a far-post effort badly over from Jimmy Ryan’s corner before United launched an increasingly rare raid on the Liverpool goal where Brandy’s acrobatic effort brought a good save out of Roberts.
Both sides were tiring badly at the end, so it was little surprise the outcome was decided on spot-kicks, where Liverpool’s nerve held.
Teams and Stats: United: Zieler, Eckersley, Strickland, Chester, C.Evans (Moffat, 99), Welbeck (Eikrem, 88), Drinkwater (Bryan, 72), Hewson (c), Galbraith, Fagan, Brandy.
Subs: McCormack, Woods (GK).
Liverpool: Roberts, Darby, Spearing (c), Threlfall, Burns, Barnett, Ryan (Woodward, 95), Ajdarevic (Irwin, 82), Putterill, Flynn, Lindfield.
Subs: Mimms (GK), Highdale, Parsonage.
Penalty Shoot-out: Eikrem 0-0, Putterill 0-1, Fagan 1-1, Lindfield 1-2, Chester 2-2, Flynn 2-3, Galbraith 3-3, Threlfall 3-4, Hewson 3-4.
Attendance: 24, 347