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FA Youth Cup report: Villa 1-2 Blackburn

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FA Youth Cup report: Villa 1-2 Blackburn

Villa bowed out of the 2015/16 FA Youth Cup at the fifth round stage - after suffering late heartbreak against Blackburn at Villa Park.

Tre Pemberton's 90th-minute winner did the damage after Villa had taken a first half lead.

It was a cruel blow for Ben Petty's young lions, who recorded eye-catching victories over Everton and Crystal Palace in earlier rounds.

The visitors produced the first real opening - number nine Lewis Mansell played in by Pemberton but full-back Mitch Clark just did enough to put him off his shot which edged wide.

Moments later, Mansell was through again - denied by a super low save from Viktor Johansson, who had to be alert.

Rovers were strong and continued to win the early 50-50 challenges and dominate the midfield area.

Only another vital intervention from Clark denied Joel Steer following Lewis Hardcastle's defence-splitting pass - Matthew Platt headed the resultant corner over the target.

The B6 faithful caught their first glimpse of Andre Green's pace midway through the first period, powering his way past a host of blue and white shirts - no-one able to get on the end of his cross.

O'Hare 640

The claret and blues took the lead on 24 minutes - a fine run and assist from Corey Blackett-Taylor, Callum O'Hare appeared to get a touch which may have caught Blackburn defender Scott Wharton on its way past stopper Andrew Fisher.

Rovers could and should have drawn level just before the break.

Lewis Hardcastle played through - his strike from close range hitting the post.

While the woodwork came to Villa's rescue at the end of the first 45, they were thwarted by the same frame early in the second.

Striker O'Hare, a regular standout performer at U18 level, saw his drive tipped over the bar by Fisher before seeing a rasping drive crash off the woodwork.

As is often the case in closely-contested matches, the Lancashire side were level against the run of play.

The impressive Hardcastle firing home emphatically after the hosts failed to properly clear a corner - hard to begrudge given the number of chances in the opening stages.

Moments later, the lively Mansell showed great close control to bring the ball down in the penalty area, his effort drifting wide.

There was a positive response from Villa - the pace of Green and Blackett-Taylor causing problems down both flanks.

Stopper Fisher had to be alert to claw away a corner with captain Easah Suliman lurking.

In what was a frantic end-to-end finish, a good free-kick delivery from Willem Tomlinson found Mansell at the back post - his header was over, much to the relief of those of a claret and blue persuasion.

Petty's lions came close to regaining the lead.

A lovely move from Villa saw Green hold up play to feed substitute Jack Clark - his curler was just over.

There were strong claims for a penalty as Green's ball into the box appeared to strike the hand of a Rovers defender.

Right-back Ryan Nyambe then embarked on an impressive run upfield but could not produce the finish at the vital moment.

With four minutes of normal time remaining, the ball fell to Green in the area after a corner wasn't dealt with by an otherwise solid Rovers backline, he could not direct his effort on the target.

With the contest seemingly destined for extra-time, Rovers broke forward through Mansell, his initial effort was saved by Johnannson but Pemberton netted the follow-up.

Villa: Johansson, Clark, Coates, Suliman, Abdoul, Blackett-Taylor, Zeidan (Clarke 60), Hayes, Green, O'Hare, Mooney (Hailey 74). Unused subs: Idem, Humphries, Cox.

Blackburn: Fisher, Nyambe, Platt, Wharton (C), Askew, Hardcastle, Tomlinson, Rankin-Costello, Pemberton, Steer, Mansell. Unused subs: Travis, Ascroft, Grayson, Mols, Fawns.

Emily Liles
By @emily_liles 1st February 2016
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