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MATCH REPORT: Coventry 2-2 Arsenal* (7-6 pens) - Heroic U18s bow out of cup after penalty heartache

15 February 2016

The young Sky Blues lose on penalties but win the hearts of the fans with fantastic performance...

Coventry City U18s fell to a 7-6 penalty defeat against Arsenal after drawing 2-2 in normal time, in the FA Youth Cup fifth round fixture.

Jak Hickman scored the first goal of the game with a curled effort before Tyrell Robinson slid under Corey Addai for the Gunners. Arsenal then took the lead through Donyell Malen in extra time before Bassala Sambou levelled in the dying moments of the game.

Top scorer in the FA Youth Cup Bassala Sambou started for City, while Callum Maycock anchored the midfield. Jay Albini also came in at midfield with Jordan Shipley filling in at NO. 10. Darragh Leahy captained the side while goalkeeper Corey Addai started against his old club.

The first chance of the game fell to City’s Jak Hickman in the third minute. The young Sky Blue went on a great run before cutting inside on the left of the area and unleashing a shot from 18 yards out, which unfortunately flew over.

However, in the 23rd minute the Sky Blues took the lead. Hickman was at it again causing all sorts of problems down the left flank, before cutting in on his  left-foot and curling in an effort into the far corner. 

Arsenal almost had a response five minutes later. Reiss Nelson drove at the City defence before trying to curl one into left corner, with the outside of his foot, but his effort flew wide. However, they eventually did score through Tyrell Robinson, using his pace to get beyond the City defence and slide the ball past on-rushing Corey Addai.

Both sides had good chances to take the lead but neither could break the deadlock, thus the teams headed in level at the whistle. But Jason Farndon’s men were resolute in their performance and were matching the very talented Arsenal.  

At the start of the second half both teams came out looking to score early but it was Arsenal who get the first clear-cut chance in the 52nd minute.  Good play on the wing saw the ball delivered into the box, the first shot was saved well by Addai but the second by Jeff Reine-Adelaide was cleared fantastically well off-the line by Camwell.

City grew into the game more and more and had a chance to take the lead as Jordan Shipley drove towards goal.  It was a fast paced counter attacking move which left Shipley to run at goal but his shot from the edge of the box lacked the power to drive it past Hugo Keto.

The young Sky Blues created another good opening in the 75th minute. A good passage of play led to Tom Bayliss receiving the ball in space on the right of the area, but his shot was just wide. Five minutes later substitute Dan Smith got into the box and drilled a shot across goal just wide of the bottom left.

Although this was a good period for Jason Farndon’s men the Gunners were still a threat with Jordan Thompson shooting just wide of the top right corner. Bassala Sambou had a chance in the dying minutes of injury time inside the six-yard box but he couldn’t make contact with the ball.

Going into extra time, it took until the 106th minute for the third goal of the game to come and it was scored by Arsenal. Donyell Malen headed in at the near post for the Gunners. However, just when it looked to be all over, who else but Sambou levelled it for City, in the 120th minute. The ball was delivered into the box from the left by substitute Ronne Hendricks and Sambou managed to flick it across goal into the bottom right for his ninth of the competition.

Dan Smith missed the first of the shoot-out with Keto saving to his right. But then Ben Sheaf missed for Arsenal placing his wide of the left post. Adelaine stepped up to take his but he shot came off the post. Then with the chance to win it Whitmore missed his penalty with the keeper again saving to his right. However, Hendricks missed the decisive penalty with the Gunners' keeper saving it from the bottom left corner.

Attendance: 1,828


Coventry City U18s: Addai (GK), Whitmore, Camwell, Ford, Leahy (C), Maycock (Hendricks 100), Hickman (Smith 78), Bayliss, Sambou, Shipley, Albini (Finn 106).

Subs: Skuza (GK), Thompson, Mantsounga, Finn.

Arsenal U18s: Keto (GK), Johnson, Robinson (Da Graca 51), McGuane (Sheaf 106), Bielik (C), Bola, Nelson, Bennacer, Mavididi (Malen 73), Reine-Adelaide, Willock.

Subs: Phillips (GK), Nelson, Hinds.

YC: Camwell , Bola, Shipley, Willcock, Keto

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