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Penalty shoot-out agony for Bradford City youths
Bradford City 2, Histon 2
(after extra-time, FT 1-1, Histon won 4-2 on penalties)
City's under-18s missed out on a date with Liverpoolafter they lost on penalties to Histon in the FA Youth Cup third round at the Coral Windows Stadium tonight.
Andrew Boote's missed effort from the spot, coupled with Barney McLaughlin's save from Scott Brown later in the shoot-out, proved decisive as the visitors won 4-2 in the end-of-match lottery.
Matthew Waters' first-half equaliser following Connor Erangey's second-minute opener had taken the tie into extra time, where Nicholas Freeman and Connor Bower scored for Histon and City respectively to see the tie go to penalties.
Before the drama of the penalty shoot-out, Erangey was the player to provide the early breakthrough for the Bantams when he drilled the ball home into the far corner with a low strike from distance.
Building on their quick-fire start, City twice enjoyed decent opportunities to double their lead within the opening quarter.
Forrayah Bass firstly glanced a header narrowly over the bar from an Erangey cross before Erangey himself flicked an effort just wide of McLaughlin's far post following Calum Hepworth's teasing centre.
As the half progressed though, Histon seemed to settle into their stride a bit more and Jack Bentley had to be alert to produce a great reaction save to keep out a close-range header from Waters at the keeper's far post.
City responded to that close shave by engineered a decent opening of their own when Oliver McBurnie fizzed in a shot from just outside the area that flew just wide.
Midway through the first period, Bentley was called upon for the second time when he was forced down to his right to stop a low drive from Freeman sneaking in at his near post.
The evenly-fought nature of the contest continued until Histon forced themselves level with time running out in the first half.
The danger began for City when an inswinging cross from Luis McCoy was inadvertently glanced towards his own goal off the head of Jonathan Lynn.
Bentley showed great reactions to keep out the deflected effort but he was unable to hold onto the ball, presenting the lurking Waters with an opportunity to fire home from barely a yard out.
The second period started with City on top in terms of possession but it was Histon who went close first after the restart when Waters' rising drive from just outside the area narrowly cleared the bar.
Just before the hour, City came agonisingly close to retaking the lead when McBurnie saw his glancing header kicked clear off the line by Histon left back Ashley Baxter.
Bass was at the heart of the Bantams' next promising moment around ten minutes later when he produced a forceful run into the box before teeing up substitute Connor Bower, who saw his shot blocked from point-blank range by Jack Uttridge.
Another teasing cross from Bass helped to see City threaten once again later in the half but Nathan Curtis' weak finish from around eight yards was easily kept out by McLaughlin.
With City still on top in the latter stages of the second period, McLaughlin had to produce a smart reflex save to tip over a powerful Jamie Arundel header at a City corner.
Despite half-chances for both teams in the final stages of the 90 minutes, neither side could find a winner as the tie went into extra time.
Histon took the lead of the tie for the first time six minutes into the extra period when Freeman was played into space behind City's defence before the winger coolly slotted home past Bentley.
The Bantams were level five minutes later, however, when Bower beat Histon's offside trap before firing low past McLaughlin from just inside the penalty box.
City pushed hard following Bower's equaliser but they were unable to find a vital third goal in the match and the tie moved onto penalties.
Bradford City: Bentley, Arundel, Lynn, Bott, Hiza, Brown, Hepworth, Bass, McBurnie, Erangey, Curtis. Substitutes: Morrison, Bower (McBurnie 62), Boote (Hepworth 90), Stockhill, Chippendale (Curtis 77).