U18s Fight Back to Claim Remarkable Draw With Burnley
Saturday, 2nd Sep 2017 14:47 by James Ager
Town's U18s came from three goals down to register their first league point of the season via an extraordinary 4-4 draw against Burnley at Playford Road on Saturday morning, a game which saw three own goals scored in just over half an hour.
After just two minutes, Steven Cahill's deep cross from the left was met by the head of Frenchman Lounes Foudil but his effort came out of the far post and the ball was cleared to safety.
Two minutes later, Town gifted the visitors the opening goal when Luca Vega's back pass wrong-footed keeper Nick Hayes and rolled into the net.
Michael Fowler then hit a dipping volley which clipped a Town post, with the Blues clearly struggling to come to terms with such an early setback.
More poor defending from one-time Clarets striker Alan Lee's side led to his old club doubling their advantage on the half-hour mark.
Tristan Jumeau's left-sided cross wasn't cleared by Town left-back Henry Barley and Dwight McNeil took full advantage by converting from close range.
The young Blues fell further behind two minutes later. A corner from the right was headed back across goal by James Clarke and although the ball initially rebounded off the bar, it then hit Town defender Ross Marshall - who was only about a yard away - and trickled across the line.
Burnley scored an own goal themselves a minute later when Jack Lankester's left-wing cross was turned into his own net by left-back Kwazinkosi Mpofu.
Four minutes before the break, Ollie Younger's sliding challenge in the area felled Lankester (pictured) and the striker stepped up to send keeper Adam Bruce the wrong way from the spot.
On 69, Town grabbed an equaliser when Brett McGavin's low right-sided corner was flicked goalwards and beyond the visitors' defence by Lankester.
A few minutes later the Burnley side thought they had retaken the lead but a linesman's flag ruled an effort out for offside.
But on 77 Town thought they had completed their dramatic turnaround when a good run from Foudil teed up Prince Ogunmekan and the central midfielder slotted the ball home from the edge of the box.
However, Town weren't able to hold on and just two minutes later the visitors levelled the scores.
Centre-back Younger made amends for conceding the earlier penalty when he fired home following a corner, which had led to a goalmouth scramble and a number of good blocks from the Town defence.
Although Town introduced England U16 international strikers Zak Brown and Ben Knight late on, the latter making his U18s debut, they weren't able to win the game and a draw was probably a fair result for both teams.
Lankester took his goals well and looked dangerous when he had the ball, but the young Blues have now conceded 16 goals in just three league games which is a statistic that they'll be looking to improve on in the coming weeks.
U18s: Hayes, Murrell, Barley, Ogunmekan, Marshall, Vega, Foudil, McGavin, Wilton (Hughes 76), Lankester (Brown 89), Cahill (Knight 89). Unused: Henry, Egan.
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