Blackpool 1-0 Huddersfield Town: Impressive Seasiders set up FA Youth Cup fourth round tie with Cheltenham Town

Johnny Johnston’s well-taken header secured Blackpool’s passage through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

By Matt Scrafton
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 8:52 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.

John 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.

With first-team boss Neil Critchley in attendance, there was also a healthy crowd in the West Stand with fans allowed in for free.

Critchley’s footprint was all over the Blackpool side as well, the Seasiders playing some eye-pleasing football in between the lines and from back to front.

The two sides struggled to get to grips with the testing conditions in the early stages, as wind and rain swirled onto the Bloomfield Road turf from the heavens.

John Murphy's side produced an impressive display

The first opening of the game came the way of Blackpool, but they knew very little about it as a bouncing ball almost embarrassed Terriers keeper Michael Acquah, who scrambled back to claim the ball before it bobbled over the line.

Johnny Johnston squandered a good early chance for the hosts when he got the right side of his marker, only for David Adewoju to recover well and intercept before the Blackpool striker could get a shot off at goal.

Johnston did manage to find the target a few moments later but his bobbled effort from range failed to threaten the Huddersfield keeper.

The Huddersfield keeper was kept busy once again to deny Luke Mariette, who started the game in commanding form in the middle of the park.

It remained one-way traffic as Jack Moore almost picked out Acquah’s near post with a dipping effort from range.

Acquah denied the Seasiders twice in quick succession, tipping Will Squires’ header around the post before pushing Joe Strawn’s curling effort away from goal.

There was nothing he could do to stop Johnston from giving the hosts a deserved lead midway through the opening half.

It came via a well-taken header from Zac Littler’s cross that left Acquah rooted to his spot in the Huddersfield goal.

The visitors thought they had a strong shout for a penalty emphatically waved away by the referee when the aptly-named Conor Falls went to ground in the Blackpool box.

The second-half began in the same vein as the first, with Blackpool continuing to pepper away at the Huddersfield goal.

Jake Daniels saw a snapshot deflect wide before Tayt Trusty’s goalbound effort was charged down after Acquah punched weakly away from the resulting corner.

A rare sight of goal for Huddersfield, meanwhile, ended with Alex McLachlan comfortably claiming Evander Grubb’s rising effort from the angle.

Johnston almost grabbed his and his side’s second of the evening when he met Dannen Francis’ pinpoint cross, only to head straight into a defender rather than goal.

Chances continued to come and go, Johnston thwarted by Acquah after breaking through before Tayt Trusty curled just wide.

That proved to be Johnston’s last action of the evening as he was surprisingly replaced by Arnold Matshazi shortly after the hour mark.

The change didn’t alter Blackpool’s attacking intentions though, with Francis seeing a shot deflect straight into the arms of Acquah when Daniels looked to be in a more promising position to his right.

The eye-catching Mariette rattled the crossbar before Squires scooped over from just six yards out as the Seasiders continued to squander some gilt-edged opportunities.

The longer Pool failed to find that all-important second, the more likely it became that Huddersfield would hit them with a sucker punch at the other end.

Thankfully McLachlan stopped that from happening on 67 minutes when he stayed big to deny Falls.

The visitors began to see more joy as the half went on, McLachlan making another fine stop to push Falls’ drive away from the danger area.

With tiring bodies across the pitch, the game became more stretched in the dying stages, Pool threatening once again on the break through Daniels’ whose powerful effort was fumbled clear by Acquah.

Murphy’s side simply couldn’t kill the game off, substitute Matshazi dragging a shot into the side netting when well placed in front of goal.

The game ended with players in both camps complaining of cramp following what was an energy-sapping evening at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders will now do it all again at Whaddon Road in January.

TEAMS

Blackpool: McLachlan, Moore, Littler, Trusty, Squires, Fitzgerald, Francis (Yelegon), Mariette, Daniels (Harrison), Johnston (Matshazi), Strawn

Subs not used: Cunningham, Bjork, Donkor, Byron

Huddersfield: Acquah, Eccleston, Weston (Johnson), Adeloju, Iorpenda, Spencer, Deru, Whitingham (Stone), Falls, O’Brien-Brady (Grubb), Philpott

Subs not used: Stewart, Taylor, Sanusi, Sandah

Referee: Alex Beckett

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