Blackpool were good value for FA Youth Cup victory against Huddersfield Town according to John Murphy

Blackpool Under-18s boss John Murphy felt his side were good value for their FA Youth Cup win against Huddersfield Town tonight.

By Matt Scrafton
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:38 pm

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The young Seasiders produced a commanding display at Bloomfield Road against a Huddersfield side that offered very little in the way of clear-cut opportunities.

Murphy’s side, by contrast, created a host of gilt-edged chances and ought to have made life far more comfortable for themselves.

But they held on and saw out the remainder of the game to set up a fourth round tie against Cheltenham Town, which must be played by Saturday, January 15.

“We deserved the win,” Murphy said. “We just needed that second goal.

“Huddersfield had spells in the game. We did a bit of research on them but it was a little bit false because a lot of their Under-18s play in the 23s.

“We’ve played them a couple of times and we’ve seen games, so we had an idea of what they’re like. But the team put out tonight was a completely different side, it was better than what we’ve seen and played before.

Under-18s boss John Murphy

“For the first 10 minutes I was worried because I thought they started well.

“After that, we started to get in the game, we start playing, we start to believe more and then chances start coming and we get our goal.

“In the second-half, they had a spell again. It was funny because it was like they waited for you and would all of a sudden flick a switch and look a team and start to cause you problems.

“The longer that goes on, all you’re thinking about is that second goal. We’ve had chances, we’ve hit the bar, but it was just those little bits of detail (that were missing), like sliding people through, first touch and not making the right decision.

“But we showed good character to shut the game down and for the final five to 10 minutes we did that well.”

Blackpool’s winning goal came via the head of striker Johnny Johnston, who picked out the bottom corner with aplomb from a left-wing cross.

“It was a very good goal,” Murphy added.

“Johnny is one of those players that get loads of chances. He’s missed a couple but he’s scored.

“In the last couple of games, he’s scored his hardest chance but he keeps getting in there.

“It was a great ball in from Zach Littler, who’s not a left-back. He’s a centre-midfielder playing left-back.

“He pinged a ball out with his right foot and crossed the ball in with his left foot, which just shows you the technique he’s got.

“We trusted him at left-back because we haven’t really got a recognised left-back in our Under-18s, so we put Zach there.

“For the first 10 minutes they targeted that side but he coped with it and grew into the game.”

Huddersfield offered very little in the main, although goalkeeper Alex McLachlan did make two important stops in the second-half.

Murphy also reserved special praise for his two centre-backs Will Squires and Michael Fitzgerald.

“The two centre backs got cramp, which I’m still trying to figure out. Maybe they’re doing running I don’t see and they’re working hard…,” Murphy joked.

“But in all seriousness, they were outstanding. They can both play football, they both want to defend.

“I must mention we were slightly fortunate in the first-half as there was a definite red, but at least a yellow nailed on. I’m not sure what the ref has seen there.

“If it had gone the other way, I’d still be shouting at the referee now, so we got away with one there.

“Alec has made a couple of saves, but the centre-backs have done well. Jack Moore was different class and it was the best display I’ve seen from Luke Mariette in midfield alongside Tayt Trust.

“Not many people get past Tayt. We call him the terminator. He fronts people up and no-one gets past him.

“You go 4-4-2 with two centre-mids like that, it allows you to play around it.

“We can be better, but it’s a cup game and we’ve won.”

First-team boss Neil Critchley watched on from the stands alongside a healthy number of supporters, who were granted admission to the game for free.

The youngsters dealt with the occasion well and always looked the side in total command of the encounter.

“Critch is great like that, I knew he’d be here. He gives good advice when needed,” Murphy said.

“This week has been tough, because we’ve had a long time to prepare and sometimes it can be too long.

“We normally play on a Tuesday but we’ve had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready when I’ve been itching to get the game on. It’s been winding me up a little bit waiting and waiting.

“I think we put on a decent performance for the YouTube streamers and the fans that came here, so hopefully everyone is happy.”

Attention now turns to Pool’s fourth round tie against League Two side Cheltenham, who overcame Rugby Town 4-0 on Wednesday night.

“That’s part and parcel of the cup, you can be at home or you could be at the other end of the country. It’s all part of the experience,” Murphy concluded.

“We’ll have a day travelling down, we’ll have a pre-match in a hotel somewhere, we’ll go to the races if it’s on and we’ll get home at all kinds of hours with the motorway closures.

“Cheltenham got a good result last night against the team that beat Morecambe, so let’s see what happens.”

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