A spirited comeback wasn’t enough to stop Blackpool’s U18s being knocked out of the FA Youth cup at the hands of Derby County.
A spirited comeback wasn’t enough to stop Blackpool’s U18s being knocked out of the FA Youth cup as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Derby County.
Goals in either half looked to set the Rams on their way to a comfortable third round victory at Bloomfield Road last night.
But Owen Watkinson pulled one back 10 minutes from time, minutes after Nathan Shaw had missed from the penalty spot for Pool, but they were unable to add a late second to force the game to extra time.
It means there is to be no repeat of last season’s heroics in the FA Youth Cup, where the young Seasiders reached the semi-final stage, eventually being knocked out by Arsenal.
After an even start to proceedings, it was the visitors who produced the first effort of the night - Connor Dixon combining with Tyree Wilson on the edge of the Blackpool area only to see his shot claimed by keeper Sam Kellett.
The Rams were playing some intricate passing in and around the Blackpool box but, until the 26th minute, they were unable to find their way past the Seasiders’ stubborn defence.
But the visitors’ patience finally paid off when Max Bird played a ball into striker Kornell McDonald, who turned well in the area before firing past Kellett.
The Seasiders looked for an instant response and almost got in behind the Derby defence a couple of minutes later as Owen Watkinson looked to bear down on goal, but defender Eiran Cashin got a vital touch to divert away from goal.
Watkinson then flashed a glancing header wide from Will McGladdery’s left-wing cross.
At the other end, Archie Brown went close for the visitors as he drilled a rising effort just over the Blackpool bar.
A deep delivery from Nathan Shaw was met by Watkinson, who couldn’t find the target with his bullet header.
Morgan Whittaker came within a whisker of doubling Derby’s lead on the stroke of half time, volleying just over the bar from outside the area.
Derby doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half, Dixon atoning for his earlier miss by striking low into the bottom corner after Whittaker’s long-range shot had been blocked right into his path.
Sean Graham almost pulled one back for Pool, heading just wide of the far post after being gifted a free header by Derby’s static defence.
The Rams weren’t content just to sit back on their lead, they pressed ahead for a third to kill the game off. Whittaker whistled one just past the post with 20 minutes remaining.
Blackpool wasted a huge chance to reduce the arrears when they were awarded a penalty for a trip on Graham, but Shaw’s low spot kick was superbly palmed away by the Derby keeper.
The Seasiders did eventually pull a goal back 10 minutes from time, Watkinson bundling home on the goalline after the Derby keeper had made a hash of his attempted punch.
Whittaker came close to restoring Derby’s two-goal lead, curling one just past the far post with Kellett beaten.
Try as they might, Pool were unable to find that late leveller to force the game to extra time, with Derby the team to progress into the next round.
Blackpool: Kellett, Williams, Winstanley (Sinclair), Maddox (Jaaskelainen, Avon, Kanga, Graham, Shaw, McGladdery, Bange, Wilkinson
Subs not used: Ravenscroft, Turner, Liptrott
Derby: Foster-Theniger, Minkley, Brown (Splatt), Bird (Thompson), Cashin, Brown, McDonald, Dixon, Wilson, Knight, Whittaker
Subs not used: Halwax, Ebosele, Greco