A Jayden Danns brace was enough for Liverpool U18s to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, with the striker overtaking a Mohamed Salah tally in the process.
Fleetwood Town U18s 1-2 Liverpool U18s
FA Youth Cup third round, Highbury Stadium
December 19, 2023
Goals: Danns 45’, 90’+3; Daha 61’
The young Reds were forced to work hard for their away victory at Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night, having withstood some early waves of pressure from the hosts in the cup tie.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson named a strong side for the clash, with U21 regulars Amara Nallo, Trey Nyoni and Lewis Koumas all among the starters.
Mikey Lane came the closest to breaking the deadlock for the visitors in the first half, but he failed to test goalkeeper Kornel Misciur with his close-range effort shortly after the half-hour mark.
Danns was then denied an opener of his own by the crossbar moments later, but he didn’t have to wait long to get his name on the scoresheet and put the visitors in front.
The 17-year-old latched onto a loose ball from corner moments before the interval to fire the ball home from inside the box and send his team into the break with the advantage.
Fleetwood regained their foothold in the encounter after the break, with chances falling to Bosembo Namputu and Dom Richmond to no avail.
Then came a breakthrough for the hosts, with Hermann Daha converting the rebound after Misciur could only push Lane’s shot into the grateful path of the striker.
Theo Butterworth went close to grabbing a late winner for his side, but the hosts were hit with a late sucker punch as Danns grabbed his second of the match in the dying moments.
The two goals from Danns saw the forward become the club’s highest scorer at all levels this season, having gone into the contest level with Salah on 14.
He was kept out by the woodwork for the second time shortly before that, but he took his total up to 16 for the season with his stoppage-time winner.
A date for that game is yet to be pencilled in, but manager Bridge-Wilkinson admitted that his side will need to do more if they are to progress into the latter stages.
“It was a hard game, a tough game, like we expected. Fleetwood gave us a really tough test, they were obviously really competitive,” he told the club’s official website after the game.
“I don’t think we reached the level that we know we’re capable of, which is disappointing. But obviously we’re pleased to get through to the next round.
“Maybe if we take a chance a little bit sooner than we did, maybe the game changes. But overall I think we’ve got to be pleased obviously to be into the next round, but we do know we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
Liverpool U18s: Misciur; Pitt, Lucky, Nallo, Davidson; Pennington, Morrison, Nyoni (Trueman 68′); Kone-Doherty, Koumas, Danns
Subs not used: Morana, Furnell-Gill, Gyimah, Pennington, K. Kelly, Figueroa
Next match: Stoke (H) – U18 Premier League – Saturday January 13, 11am (GMT)