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U18s Exit Youth Cup as Liverpool Come From Behind
Wednesday, 12th May 2021 20:10

Town’s FA Youth Cup run came to an end at the semi-final stage as Liverpool came from behind to beat the Blues’ U18s 2-1 at Portman Road. Town deservedly went ahead in first-half injury time when Edwin Agbaje headed home, but the visitors were on top for most of the second half and were seen into the final via goals from Mateusz Musialowski and Melkamu Frauendorf.

After both sides and the officials had taken a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, the game got under way with the early stages evenly balanced.

In the third minute Liam Gibbs sent over a cross from the left but just too high for Gerard Buabo.

Liverpool, third in Premier League U18 North and unbeaten in their last 10 in all competitions, began to dominate possession and in the 15th minute Dom Corness struck a shot which Blues keeper Lewis Ridd stopped but was unable to hold on to, however, he was able to claim the rebound ahead of the lurking Max Woltman.

Three minutes later, James Balagizi brought the ball in from the left before hitting a shot which deflected over. Ridd confidently punched away the resultant corner.

In the 23rd minute, Musialowski struck a low effort which Ridd, starting having been an early sub for the injured Antoni Bort in the 3-2 after-extra-time victory over Sheffield United in the quarter-final, pushed past his post.

The Blues began to play more of the game in the Liverpool half, Gibbs seeing a shot blocked on the edge of the box.

Town’s first real chance of the game came in the 32nd minute. The Blues played a corner on the left back to be delivered into the box and a Liverpool defender was only able to clear it to Nico Valentine in space on the left of the box but the schoolboy scuffed his effort.

The home side continued to see most of the ball and on 37 Gibbs struck a shot from distance through to Harvey Davies in the Liverpool goal.

Three minutes later, Musialowski twisted and turned on the edge of the box before hitting a shot which Ridd saved down to his right.

But it was the Blues who would take the lead in injury time. Gibbs brought the ball to the byline on the right and crossed for Irish right-back Edwin Agbaje, whose header just crossed the line having struck the keeper and woodwork.

After rapturous celebrations in the corner by the tunnel, there wasn’t time for any further action before the break.

The Blues had been far from overawed by their more illustrious opponents and had more than held their own. Liverpool had had spells on top but so had the Town youngsters who had appeared to grow in confidence the longer the half progressed.

Even before the late goal, the Blues had had the best chance when Valentine was unable to connect cleanly, and they went in at the break well worth their lead.

Liverpool number nine Woltman missed a golden chance to level two minutes after the restart when sent through on goal. As Ridd advanced from his line, the striker blazed over.

On 49 the visitors threatened again, James Norris crossing for Conor Bradley who turned his first time effort into the back of the stand.

The Merseysiders had started the second half on the front foot and were seeing most of the ball, albeit without adding to their early chances, but in the 59th minute the Blues were close to making it 2-0.

Cameron Humphreys was sent away down the left by Alfie Cutbush and his cross fell for Valentine beyond the far post from where he shot not too far over.

Three minutes later, Cutbush was shown the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Musialowski midway inside the Town half. And from the resultant free-kick the visitors levelled.

Centre-half Elkan Baggott headed the initial free-kick but Liverpool skipper Jarell Quansah nodded down to Musialowski, who worked himself space on the edge of the box before hitting a shot which deflected past the wrong-footed Ridd and into the net. The Reds deserved the leveller on the balance of the half.

As they prepared to restart, Town swapped Cutbush for striker Ola Bello, scorer of a hat-trick in the early stages of the competition at Chelmsford.

Having got on terms, a Liverpool onslaught might have been expected but none came and the Blues began to see more of the ball and began to threaten.

On 78, Gibbs tricked his way on from the left and sent over a powerful low cross which deflected off Quansah and away for a throw.

The visitors swapped goalscorer Musialowski for Frauendorf in the 79th minute and two minutes after coming on, the sub put his side in front.

Woltman had been dispossessed inside the area by Baggott but the ball fell to the German, who turned inside the Indonesian U19 international and shot across Ridd, who got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent it from arcing inside the post.

Town switched Agbaje and Buabo for Jack Manly and Tawanda Chirewa in the 83rd minute as they looked to get back on terms.

However, Liverpool were starting to dominate and create chances. On 85 Woltman shot wide, then a minute later Frauendorf was thwarted by Ridd when through on goal.

Town continued to look for a late leveller, something they managed earlier in the competition against Fulham and then Sheffield United, but they were unable to trouble Davies in the Liverpool goal and referee Craig Hicks’s whistle confirmed the Reds’ progress into the final.

Despite the defeat and missing out on what would have been the club’s fourth appearance in the final, the young Blues can hold their heads up high not just for tonight’s performance, having matched Liverpool for long spells, but for the cup run and their season as a whole.

The youngsters’ season is still not over with a Professional Development League Two play-off semi-final at Wigan on Saturday.

U18s: Ridd, Agbaje (Manly 83), Alexander (c), Stewart, Baggott, Armin, Valentine, Cutbush (Bello 64), Buabo (Chirewa 83), Gibbs, Humphreys. Unused: Catley, Bradshaw, Nwabueze, Boatswan.

Liverpool: Davies, Bradley, Norris, Quansah (c), Koumetio, Stephenson, Corness, Morton, Woltman, Balagizi, Musialowski (Frauendorf 79). Unused: Mrozek, Jonas, Wilson, Chambers, Mabaya, Bajcetic. Referee: Craig Hicks.

Photo: Matchday Images

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Chrisd added 20:17 - May 12
A terrific effort from our young lads, they should feel very proud. They proved a real stern test for Liverpool and at times looked the better side. They were a really good watch at times, especially during that first half. Hopefully, we’ll see a good few of them progress to become regulars in our first team in the next few seasons.

Edmundo added 20:21 - May 12
Proud of the Youths. Proud to be a Blue again. PRIDE OF ANGLIA.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 20:22 - May 12
Gibbs and Baggott should be on the verge of 1st team next season, solid performances all round.

Esseeja added 20:22 - May 12
Brilliant effort and probably deserved to take it to extra time.
Not only we took the game to them but we also stood our ground against them and denied them many opportunities.
Ridd spilled a few saves but nonetheless recovered pretty much every time and made a lot of good saves.

brendenward35 added 20:23 - May 12
Did themselves proud took a good Liverpool side to beat them. Good game to watch everyone of them worked their socks off. Well done lads hold your head up high and push on.

midastouch added 20:23 - May 12
A great journey and they pushed Liverpool all the way. They deserve tons of credit.

stevieg added 20:28 - May 12
Heads up lads you made me proud to be a Town fan again best performance I’ve watched all season. I wish you all the best for what I hope will be the future.

Suffolkboy added 20:28 - May 12
Seems the game was a credit to football and all who,took part !More of the same in the next season proper !

happybeingblue added 20:32 - May 12
well done lads you really should be proud of your cup run,you have just put a lot of pride back into the club,played with real endeavour quality and very noticeable a team spirit.
some real tigers in midfield,intelligent movement off the ball,the future looks bright if you boys stay at ITFC ....please!

Yorkshire_Townie added 20:36 - May 12
ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT effort tonight lads. I hope some of them read TWTD. We supporters are extremely proud of you all. Gave the young millionaires of L'pool more than a game tonight. V unlucky to not get to at least extra time, I thought. For all the lauded red youth players, our lads more than matched them. Seeing passion and heart AND ability in blue Town shirts was a joy after an awful season. I wasnt overly impressed by the reds players that the commentators talked up. I wouldnt swap keepers for a start. He was tall but looked all over the shop. Ridd in our goal looked much more reliable/confident. Baggott looked like a man playing against children.

istanblue added 20:37 - May 12
Makes me wonder why PC didn't play at least a couple of them in the final few games of the season. They showed everything that ITFC players should: heart and desire.

CheffyCooky added 20:39 - May 12
Baggott was absolute class, well done all 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Nottsboy added 20:39 - May 12
Well done young guns you have your supporters in Nottingham, really enjoyed the game hope to see some in the 1st team next season cant wait to get back to Portman Road ( even though it's a 308 mile round trip ) well done boys hold your heads high.

arc added 20:42 - May 12
Small thing: was I the only one who thought Lewis Ridd got a tiny touch on that Liverpool chance early in the second half? I thought it was a brilliant save.

Wonderful performance. Thank you, lads, for making me remember why I like football :-)

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 20:45 - May 12
Immensely proud of our young team tonight. Unlucky with the equaliser, but massive character afterwards when by rights L’pool should have gone on to a comfortable win. They didn’t. Instead, we pushed them all the way. COYB! There is much more to come from these players.

Yorkshire_Townie added 20:49 - May 12
I get the thing of leaving them alone to focus on the FA Youth cup run, but otherwise I would defo have thrown half that team (or more) into the first team for the last couple of games this season. At least these lads weren't sulking/on strike because Shambert got the flick. The effort & heart and teamwork was a joy to watch. The gap between the sides should be something comparable to the equivalent first teams. I cannot imagine our first team having made Firmino, Mane etc scramble to just about get past us in a cup tie. Not sure they'd have faired any better vs THIS L'pool line up. Well done Atay's u18s! BLUE ARMY!!

runningout added 20:50 - May 12
I’m sure these are nice words, but I’m sure the lads know we should have killed game off. No time to respect opposition, doesn’t matter who in these days. Onwards and win it next time around :-)

JCBLUE added 20:53 - May 12
Great run & well played lads, the future is bright!

heathen66 added 20:57 - May 12
Great performance and one the players and us the supporters can be proud of.
Seemed to play in a formation that everyone was comfortable with and was able to change to suit the situation.
Well Done Lads and Well Done Adem Atay

ringwoodblue added 21:06 - May 12
Tremendous effort from the lads, went toe to toe with the mighty Liverpool.

Hopefully some of these young players will be playing for our first team against Liverpool in seasons to come

Michael101 added 21:11 - May 12
Great game if only they had taken that chance about 10 mins into
The second half 2-0 up might have held on. But a good all round effort. Thought the commentary was a bit Liverpool biased.


1Warky added 21:12 - May 12
Well done to all the lads and staff on a great run. So proud to see an Ipswich team play with such skill, class and real character. A credit to all your hard work. You've been the shining light at the club this year and given our fans a great lift. Thank you all. Here's to a great future.

cornishblu added 21:22 - May 12
Did the town proud tonight , long since we have seen a half time score that said
Ipswich 1-0 Liverpool
Cat 2 team against a cat 1 and just slightly short in quality....bodes v well for the future ..,.dont be despondent lads ...May it make you even more hungry

budgieplucker added 21:30 - May 12
Interesting to hear Atem Atay’s post match interview. Whilst generous with his praise on the efforts so far this season, he felt the performance didn’t quite match other recent performance, and that they have to pick themselves up and go again as the season is not over. Also pointed out that some of our better players were injured and many of these lads will be available again next year to build upon this experience. So no feeling sorry for the youngsters.........well from me I am feeling very proud of lads and watching them gave me far more satisfaction over two games (qtr final as well) than a season full of ifollow streams for the first team.

I like the toughness of Atay though, even if I think he was being a little harsh tonight, perhaps tough love, but his determination to drive these lads forward with a lot cohesion between them bonding the players into a team working their socks off for each other. Do you know what, Atay spoke so interestingly and eloquently for several minutes, Paul Lambert used to loose me after about 15 seconds, outside of his endless repeating of the same sentence in the same interview.

Atay, certainly gave me thought to think he could be a very good future manager for Ipswich Town, careful now Kieron, Adem may well overtake you !!!!

Think Baggot will learn a lot with Kings Lynn, so I wouldn’t rush him too much next year but certainly a very bright prospect.

Gibbs clearly a classy footballer and we must be concerned that we lose him as he hasn’t signed that new deal as yet, looks like he could surpass Bishop and Dozzell with mature performances like tonight.

Kropotkin123 added 21:32 - May 12
Done themselves and the Town proud. Well done all. Keep working hard to make it

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