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Millwall U18s 4 Blackpool U18s 3

4 December 2012

Full-time score from The Den

Conor Wilkinson struck a 96th-minute winner to settle a seven-goal thriller as Millwall booked their place in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round with victory against Blackpool.
In a ding-dong Den tussle The Tangerines three times stole a goal advantage, but were pegged back each time by a battling Lions outfit who quite simply refused to be beaten.
An exhilerating opening 22 minutes saw the two teams serve up five goals, and by half-time it could easily have been 6-6 as both The Lions and Tangerines used attack as the best form of defence.
It took just two minutes for the deadlock to be broken courtesy of a close-range effort from Henry Cameron.
But just three minutes later Conor Wilkinson hauled the home side level with a crisp low finish from Jason Twum's cross that gave keeper Conor Hunt no chance.
A further six minutes elapsed before Blackpool restored their advantage with a stunning long range drive into the top right corner from Conor Ready that whistled past Tom Wellham in the Millwall goal.
But back came the young Lions just three minutes later when Wilkinson's persistence on the left enabled him to pull back from the bye-line and team-mate Charlie Penny did the rest, sweeping home to make it 2-2.
A great save by Wellham denied the impressive Adeyinka Cole, but the Blackpool player was not to be denied, and fired the visitors 3-2 ahead with just 22 minutes on the clock.
Millwall could have levelled for a third time just seconds later when Twum's low drive flew across the face of goal before a super reverse-pass from Wilkinson picked out Penny charging forward. Penny then rounded the keeper but a superb block tackle by Harrison McGahey diverted his goalbound effort for a corner.
Niall McManus was stretchered off on 35 minutes after lengthy treatment by physio Mick McDuff on his knee to be replaced by Ben Thompson.
Twum then had a low shot pushed away by Hunt whilst at the other end Wellham did well to deny Louis Cross just before the break.
After a goal-crazy opening half it looked as if it was going to be more of the same again when Millwall hauled themselves level for a third time. Penny was the instigator with a smart lay-off to Twum, and he in turn slotted home from 12 yards.
The Lions had the bit between their teeth now with Penny firing over and then Twum's effort smacking the base of the upright following a good one-two with Penny.
Connor Callaghan was the second home player to be stretchered off after a bang to the head with Callum Webb entering the fray.
Wellham prevented Blackpool taking the lead with 20 minutes remaining, brilliantly keeping out Cole's free-kick with his legs.
That save proved decisive because with the game heading towards extra time Wilkinson picked up the ball onnthe left and worked his way into the area. Although his first effort was blocked by keeper Hunt, Wilkinson picked up the loose ball and smashed home to put Millwall ahead for the first time.
Having worked so hard to edge their noses in front for the first time, the young Lions were in no mood to let their precious lead slip in the remaining seconds and wound down the clock comfortably to spark wild celebrations amongst the team at the final whistle.

Millwall U18s: Wellham, Newman, Hunter, Oriogun, Fitzgerald (c), De Havilland, Callaghan (Webb, 76mins), McManus (Thompson, 36mins), Penny, Wilkinson, Twum. Subs not used: Beadle, Nelson, Thongvivat. 

Wilkinson (5, 90+6mins), Penny (14mins), Twum (51mins) Scorers:

Blackpool U18s: Hunt, Schuster, N'Daw, Turner, McGahey, Cross (c), Cameron (Fraser, 65mins), Shaw, Ready, Cole, Blackett (Charles, 59mins). Subs not used: Clayton, Rowely, Lomax.
Scorers: Cameron (2mins), Ready (11mins), Cole (22mins)

Ref: S.Franklin

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