Liverpool under-18s were unable to defend their FA Youth Cup crown after falling to a 4-2 defeat at Tottenham.
Tottenham U18s 4-2 Liverpool U18s
FA Youth Cup Third Round, Lamex Stadium
December 2, 2019
Goals: Parrott pen 17’, 31’, Robson 76’, Cooper 77’; Bradley 44’, Stewart 62’
Barry Lewtas’ Reds made the trip south to kick off their defence of the FA Youth Cup crown with a new-look side from the team who lifted the trophy in tow.
Spurs were the challengers as the young Reds looked to progress to the fourth round, where Ki-Jana Hoever was present from the off instead of featuring for the under-23s, who were also in action on Monday night – a decision which clearly showed where the club’s priorities lie.
Meanwhile, Layton Stewart and skipper Fidel O’Rourke both made their long-awaited return from injury in what was a welcome sight as the club looked to balance both the U18s and U23s on the same night.
And while Jake Cain and Tom Hill both had sights on goal early in proceedings as the Reds looked to get on the front foot, successive indiscretions from Harvey Davies handed Tottenham a two goal buffer inside the space of 14 minutes.
The Liverpool stopper’s indecisiveness to attack the ball saw him instead take down Tottenham captain Troy Parrott in the area before Hoever’s short back pass was intercepted by the hosts and Davies illegally intervened.
Parrott would duly convert from the spot on both occasions to hand Tottenham a healthy two goal advantage with just over half an hour played, punishing the Reds for their lack of a cutting edge.
The closing stages of the half, however, saw Liverpool burst into life.
First, a penalty shout of their own was turned down for a challenge on Stewart before Conor Bradley handed Lewtas’ side a lifeline with 44 minutes on the clock as he pounced on a loose ball and drilled it into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
After the break, the Reds continued to have the lion’s share of possession and came agonisingly close to notching the equaliser through Hill, only for Spurs’ keeper to pull out a brilliant save to prevent the 17-year-old’s header from finding the bottom corner.
But Lo-Tutala would have no such opportunity the next time Liverpool came calling as Stewart marked his comeback with a goal as he curled his shot across the ‘keeper – a strike which made it 2-2.
And while momentum was firmly on Liverpool’s side, Spurs would strike twice in as many minutes to ensure a second comeback was off the table for the young Reds.
Tottenham’s fourth and final goal came after yet another defensive lapse from the Reds straight after the kick-off, ensuring Liverpool fell at the first hurdle in the defence of their crown.
Liverpool U18s: Davies; Bradley, Hoever, Savage, Beck; Clarkson, Hill, Cain; Stewart, O’Rourke (Bearne 66’), Norris
Subs not used: Balagizi, Morton
Next Match: Derby (A) – U18 Premier League – Saturday, December 7, 12pm (GMT)