Match report: Blackpool Under-18 2 Arsenal Under-18 2

Dylan Sumner scores Pool's first equaliser'Picture: Daniel Martino
Dylan Sumner scores Pool's first equaliser'Picture: Daniel Martino
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Blackpool twice came from behind to draw with Arsenal in the first leg of their FA Youth Cup semi-final and will head to the Emirates for next month's decider with everything to play for.

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Pool keeper Craig Thordarson's penalty save from Trae Coyle denied the young Gunners a 3-1 lead and paved the was for Ben Jacobson's equaliser 15 minutes from time.

Tyreece John-Jules had given the visitors the lead from a 31st-minute corner at Bloomfield Road only for Dylan Sumner to equalise shortly before the break.

Xavier Amaechi gave Arsenal the lead for the second time before Thordarson and Jacobson filled Blackpool with hope for the second leg on April 16.

The hosts started the game the better side, applying the pressure in the early minutes. Jack Newton met an early corner swung in by Fin Sinclair-Smith but the ball flew over the bar.

Inside 10 minutes, Arsenal also went close as a looping fre- kick was deflected just past the far post for a corner kick.

Halfway through the first period and Arsenal were in the ascendancy. A free-kick into the box from Robbie Burton had to be headed clear at the back post by Tom Williams.

Sinclair-Smith had the first real shot in anger after 25 minutes. His rasping effort stung the hands of Arthur Okonkwo in the Arsenal goal.

John-Jules opened the scoreing when Xavier Amaechi’s corner dropped to his feet and the forward slotted home from close range.

ball in dropping to John-Jules’ feet of a deflection, with the forward duly slotting home the ball from close range.

The visitors had a big chance to double the lead shortly after as Fol Balogun turned on the edge of the box but fired wide of the Blackpool goal.

Blackpool looked to get back into the game but the ball just would not drop for the hosts until a minute before the interval.

Nathan Shaw burst down the wing,cut inside and found Will Dunne, who played the ball into the path of Sumner, who beat Arthur Okonkwo to make it 1-1.

The right wing was the source of Blackpool’s best attacks in the early part of the second half. Twice Nana Adarkwa beat Xavier Amaechi but his crossed were cleared.

Sinclair-Smith also saw a cross headed away by Danny Ballard before Owen Watkinson could pounce.

Good harassing from Watkinson then brought about another half-chance. The ball fell Dunne, who beat his man but the ball was cleared for a corner by Tobi Omole.

That corner resulted in a nasty cash of heads between Blackpool’s captain Jacobson and Arsenal’s John-Jules. After a couple of minutes of treatment both players were able to continue.

Sinclair-Smith then played in striker Watkinson, who dragged his shot wide.

Blackpool then forced Okonkwo into a triple save. Firstly, the‘keeper got down to save Dunne’s back post heade before getting up to smother the rebound effort from Watkinson. Okonkwo then came ouot to collect Nana Adarkwa’s cross.

Arsenal countered dangerously on the hour mark, having been under pressure. Some good interplay between John-Jules and Amaechi led to Balogun having a shot on goal but it was well blocked by Williams.

Midfielder Robbie Burton's shot from distance bounced in front of Thordarson, who needed two attempts to get hold of it

The Gunners then made a double change on the hour. Matthew Smith came on for Olayinka in the middle, with Bukayo Sako replacing Balogun up top.

Arsenal then took the lead for a second time when Vontae Daley-Campbell got past two men down the right before pulling the ball back for Amaechi to find the bottom corner.

Thordarson then came to Pool's rescue when Will Avon brought down substitute Sako and Coyle's spot-kick was well saved by the keeper.

Thordarson then had to be alert again to the danger of Sako. The striker was played through by Coyle, but the keeper stuck out his left foot to keep the hosts just one goal behind.

These saves seemed all the most crucial when captain Jacobson bundled home the equaliser after Arsenal keeper Okonkwo spilled a cross at his feet.

Blackpool then made two changes, with Brendan O’Brien coming on for Nana Adarkwa down the right wing and Emil Jaaskelainen replacing Dunne up front.

Blackpool then had three good efforts as the game moved into the final 10 minutes.

Sinclair-Smith and Jacobson both had cracks at goal from the edge of the area, then former had a further attempt on the volley which flew wide.

The whistle blew after four minutes of added time and the draw was the fair result.

Blackpool: Thordarson; Williams, Avon, Jacobson (c); Adarkwa (O’Brien), Sumner, Newton, Shaw; Sinclair-Smith; Dunne (Jaaskelainen), Watkinson (Bange); not used: Simson, Maddox