Young Blues hit dramatic double at the death in Youth Cup classic
- Credit: Archant
Town’s U18s came from behind in added time to stun Fulham 3-2 in the third-round of the FA Youth Cup at Portman Road.
Imani Lanquedoc and Mika Biereth had given the Cottagers a 2-0 lead at half-time but after responding through Brooklyn Kabongolo’s header, Liam Gibbs and Harley Curtis struck a quick fire double in the dying minutes to cap off a superb second-half fightback from the Young Blues.
The visitors had the lions share of the early possession and were first to go close but Biereth dragged his shot wide under pressure from Elkan Baggott. Biereth was at the forefront of another dangerous Fulham attack shortly after but Ollie O’Neill’s clever through-ball just carried too far for the pestering forward to latch on to. The lively O’Neill had looked Fulham’s main outlet throughout the first half and was soon involved in the buildup to the opener as Town failed to clear their lines from a dangerous wide-left delivery, allowing Lanquedoc to blast the loose ball through the fingertips of Lewis Ridd from just outside the area.
Fulham doubled their lead soon after following another slick move as O’Neill glided into the area and zipped a dangerous ball across for Biereth to clinically side-foot past Ridd from 12-yards. Town hadn’t created an awful lot during the first-half but had a good opportunity just after the half-hour mark as Gibbs’ deflected shot fell kindly for Fraser Alexander but his squared cutback evaded the blue shirts arriving in the area. The visitors would have the final chance of an impressive first-half but after turning Albie Armin on the right-hand side of the area, Biereth flashed his shot across the face of goal.
The Blues started much brighter after the restart and got themselves back into the game after just four minutes as Kabongolo towered high to meet Gibbs’ free-kick and powered his header into the top corner. The goal buoyed Ipswich and gave them new found confidence as the chances started to arrive.
Soon a heart sinking moment arose as a clumsy pass at the back allowed O’Neill to break through on goal but the Fulham winger was chopped down by Ridd, with the Town stopper booked as a result. Shortly after, Gibbs was cursing his luck after being denied a certain opportunity to score. Curtis laid the ball on a plate after robbing the defender but Stefan Parkes came in with an exceptional challenge to protect his side’s lead.
Fulham could’ve had the game won six minutes from time but Ibane Bowat saw his back-post header superbly tipped over the bar by Ridd. It was a chance that would come back to haunt the Cottagers as drama struck at Portman Road. As the game entered the 90th minute, Town were awarded a penalty as Curtis was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Matt Dibley-Dias. Gibbs held his nerve from the spot and sent Alex Borto the wrong way to bring Town level.
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Amazingly, the Young Blues delivered a hammer blow in the fourth-minute of added time with as Curtis got on the end of Nico Valentine’s hooked pass into the area and calmly toed underneath the onrushing Borto to win the game for Town and send the Blues’ contingent into raptures.
Town: Ridd, Wyss (Valentine), Kabongolo, Baggott, Armin, Alexander, Cutbush, Gibbs, Humphreys, Siziba (Manly), Bello (Curtis).
Unused: Catley, Stewart, Chirewa, Bareck.