Hubert Graczyk was our shoot-out hero as we beat Cheltenham Town on penalties to reach the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
After a goalless 120 minutes, our goalkeeper denied Charlie Stanton from the spot before Callum Ebanks fired over as we booked our spot in the next round.
In a game full of twists and turns, Ben Cottrell and Sam Greenwood had early opportunities to open the scoring, but could not get the better of Freddie Lapworth in the Robins’ goal.
Graczyk was then called into action after the interval, acrobatically palming Ebanks’ goal-bound effort away.
The hosts almost nicked a late winner when a flicked on cross flew over our defensive line, but Connor Jakeway couldn’t react quickly enough at the far post as the game went to extra-time.
Again we started on the front foot, and Alex Kirk came close when he rose highest to head a corner inches wide of the post. Moments later, Lapworth parried an effort into Luke Plange’s path but his strike was cleared off the line.
Graczyk then made two crucial stops to preserve his clean sheet, first denying Jakeways with a reaction stop before clawing an in-swinging corner off the line to take the game to penalties.
Sam Greenwood, Alfie Mathews, Matthew Dennis and Patino scored from 12 yards before our keeper’s heroics guaranteed our place in the next round.
WHAT IT MEANS
Victory at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium means we advance into the fourth round of the competition to face Southampton at home.
The Saints reached this stage by beating Bristol Rovers 3-1 last week. Our fourth-round tie will be played the week of Saturday, January 18.
Ken Gillard’s side return from the winter break to face Chelsea away from home on Saturday, January 4 at 11am (UK time)
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