AFC Blackpool lose out in cup final despite last-minute equaliser
AFC Blackpool narrowly missed out on ending the season with silverware as their Under-17s were beaten on penalties by Prestwich Heys in the Division Three Cup final at Burscough.
Manager Oliver Perkins welcomed Rocco Williams back into his defence, while opting for Charlie Simmons to partner Jake Marshall up front.
Alex McLoughlin had the first shot from the edge of the box, comfortably dealt with by the keeper.
Ryan Perkes then won a corner, which fell to Kyle Higham at the back post but the defender fired over.
Prestwich had two good chances of their own without really testing keeper Kian Dodgson, their number nine firing over from inside the six-yard box.
Dodgson and Harry Rolls then denied Heys, Rolls getting down well to block back-to-back efforts.
An even first half ended with Charlie Simmons having the final chance for AFC but he dragged his shot across goal.
Prestwich came at Blackpool strongly from the restart and took the lead a minute into the second half, when Bailey Dawes was played in and made no mistake.
Scott Snape had the chance to head AFC level but his effort rebounded off the bar and no-one in tangerine could capitalise.
Rolls had a half-chance from Marshall’s free-kick but could not keep his header down.
Substitute keeper Harry Chadwick had come on for the second half and kept AFC in the match with two saves in quick succession.
Everyone in the ground thought Marshall had equalised on 70 minutes but what looked a perfect free-kick had fount the side-netting.
Marshall was then sent off for a second bookable offence, leaving AFC to see out the game with 10 men.
But they continued to chase an equaliser and their persistence paid off with two minutes remaining.
A free-kick into the box found Jordan Rankine, who rose highest to head in and ensure AFC completed the season unbeaten.
AFC: Dodgson, Rolls, Higham, Williams, Perkes, Mcloughlin, Snape, Dolby-Armstrong, Rankine, Simmons, Marshall. Subs: Chadwick, Aspinall, Hesford, Kelsey, Tingle.
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