Reds youth retain Cup

Posted by liverweb on April 27, 2007, 10:19:38 AM

Manchester United 0 Liverpool 1

A magnificent performance from the Reds coupled with cool heads in a penalty shoot out ensured the Reds retained the FA Youth Cup. Coming in to the game a goal behind the Reds played superbly throughout and thoroughly deserved this win in United's own back yard. The Reds won the game 1-0 on the night and then won the ensuing penalty shoot-out 4-3 having scored from each of their kicks.

A large crowd turned up for this second leg and the home side were expecting a win having overturned the Reds at Anfield a week ago. The game started with a minute's clapping for Alan Ball. These times are so much better to remember players rather than silence.

United got the game underway but it was the Reds who had the first chance when Charlie Barnett strode through midfield but shot wide. United are a decent side and play some decent football and at times on the night it looked like it might undo the Reds.

After eight minutes United broke with pace and won a corner which the Reds half cleared before Brandy shot over the bar. At the other end Ryan Flynn was putting pressure on United's back line from a deep cross but a cool header sent the ball back to his keeper.

Roberts was forced in to the action midway through the half when Brandy shot from distance but the keeper had it well covered. The Reds were doing well though without really putting big pressure on their defence. They had a superb chance on thirty seven minutes when a great cross from Jimmy Ryan on the right was headed just over the bar from Craig Lindfield.

As half time approached though the Reds were very much still in the game but really needed to push on a bit more in order to get the scores equal again. The half time team talk in a sense would have been quite simple - they are there for the taking but don't take your eye off the back line.

The Reds pushed on in the second half and certainly looked the better side. They grabbed midfield more and from there the game was won in a sense. Before the Reds scored though there was a warning sign for the Reds. Jay Spearing played a loose ball which Brandy capitalised on and raced through but Roberts stood up really well and saved with his feet when the United striker shot on goal.

The Reds took note of the warning though and pushed up. On fifty two minutes Lindfield saw a shot pushed on to the post by United keeper Zieler and Flynn shot over with the rebound when he was under pressure.

The all important goal came on fifty minutes from Robbie Threlfall. The unfortunate victim from the first leg of the own goal stepped up to volley home after United failed to clear a corner. Threlfall controlled the ball with one foot fifteen yards out and then blasted in to the back of the net. The goal came at the Liverpool end of the ground and the Reds celebrated in front of us.

The goal seemed to galvanise the Reds even more now. This set of players has that Liverpool spirit in them that they can always claw things back. On sixty three minutes Ray Putterill shot just wide after creating himself some space on the edge of the area.

The Reds were putting lots of pressure on United now and certainly at throw ins. It meant the Reds were forcing the pace up to the far end of the pitch and away from any danger to themselves. The biggest thing against the Reds winning this outright was the clock. Ajdarevic went off with nine minutes to go for Steve Irwin. A minute later and Putterill nearly scored with the keeper beaten at full stretch but the ball sailed just wide. With three minutes to go Jimmy Ryan battled to create some space in the area but let himself down with a wayward shot at the end of it.

Extra time was upon us and so many of the players were going down with cramp on the pitch now. United got the extra time started and within a minute had Dave Roberts active again. Bryan shot and the Reds keeper saved at the second attempt. The Reds keeper did well considering he was only called in to the side at the last minute.

On three minutes Lindfield must have thought he had scored. Jimmy Ryan crossed from the right and the Reds striker took the ball down on the edge of the box. He jinked past his marker before shooting past Zieler only to see the ball rebound back off the post and go out. A minute later and Stephen Darby found himself through on goal but having rounded the keeper he found he had took the ball too far he tried to cut the ball back but the main chance had gone.

Lee Woodward was sent on for the Reds with Jimmy Ryan on the sidelines suffering cramp. Ryan was desperate to come back on but the sub had to be made for the Reds' sake.

A minute in to the second half of extra time and Burns whipped in a dangerous free kick which somehow United cleared in a scramble. From the resulting corner the ball somehow reached Lindfield at the back post but he shot wide - clearly not expecting the ball to reach him.

At the other end Brandy got himself in to space at a United corner and when the ball fell to him he volleyed on goal only to see Dave Roberts match him. Time though was ticking down now and it seemed inevitable that a penalty shoot out would decide the destiny of the trophy.

In the 2006 campaign the Reds won a penalty shoot out and there's something about this club and shoot out wins - two European cup wins by them. Don't forget we've won one shoot out in someone's back yard before in 1984 so this wasn't going to scare us.

The penalties would be taken at the Stretford End in front of the United crowd.

1. Eikram - penalty shot left saved by Dave Roberts
2. Putterill - scored right
3. Fagan - scored left
4. Lindfield - scored left
5. Chester - scored left
6. Flynn - scored left
7. Galbraith - scored right
8. Threlfall - scored left
9. Hewson - blazed over the bar

The Reds had won the cup 4-3 and having celebrated with one another all raced to the Liverpool end to celebrate. If you're going to win it feels so much better at your rivals back yard.

Jay Spearing stepped up and received the trophy off some FA bloke who then got swamped in the celebrations by the Reds. This was a mighty performance from the Reds and this side go down in history as the first Reds side to retain the trophy.

Liverpool Roberts, Darby, Burns, Spearing ©, Threlfall, Ajdarevic (Irwin 81), Barnett, Putterill, Ryan (Woodward 95), Flynn, Lindfield
Unused Subs Mimms, Highdale, Parsonage
Goal Threlfall (55)

Manchester United Zieler, Eckersley, Evans (Moffatt 99), Strickland, Chester, Drinkwater (Bryan 72), Welbeck (Eikrem 88), Hewson (capt), Brandy, Fagan, Galbraith
Unused Subs McCormack, Woods

Referee Mark Clattenburg

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