By Akshay Patel at Bloomfield Road
Our FA Youth Cup semi-final will be decided at Emirates Stadium after we were held to a draw in Tuesday night’s first leg against Blackpool.
We twice took the lead through Tyreece John-Jules and Xavier Amaechi but were pegged back each time, and Trae Coyle’s missed penalty leaves the tie in the balance going into next month’s second leg.
After a cagey opening half an hour, we finally found the breakthrough when John-Jules reacted quickest to smash home from inside the six-yard box after Blackpool had failed to clear Amaechi’s corner.
The hosts equalised against the run of play on the stroke of half-time, though, with Dylan Sumner coolly slotting home Will Dunne’s far-post header.
But despite Blackpool’s resurgence, we would strike next. Vontae Daley-Campbell’s powerful run and cross found an unmarked Amaechi, who finished into the bottom corner to restore our advantage.
We had the opportunity to increase our lead from the penalty spot when substitute Bukayo Saka was felled by Will Avon, but Craig Thordarson reacted well to his right to keep out Coyle from 12 yards.
And we would be punished for our missed opportunity moments later. We failed to deal with a dangerous cross from the right-hand side, and Ben Jacobsen was on hand to capitalise from close range.
WHAT IT MEANS
The result means the tie is perfectly poised going into the semi-final second leg next month.
We welcome Blackpool to Emirates Stadium for the return fixture on Monday, April 16, hoping to secure our place in the final for the first time since we lifted the trophy in 2009.
After participating in the Dallas Cup next week it’s back to league action for our under-18s, who host Leicester City at London Colney on Saturday, April 7.
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