Take a bow lads ? We've won the Cup

Last updated : 10 May 2006 By Tony Scholes
Connor Smith receives the Lancashire FA Youth Cup

The lads, each and everyone of them, gave everything they had and fought to the very end to ensure that it was Connor Smith who would be lifting the trophy at the end of the night. It was very much deserved too, on a night when we were never behind and when we came so close to winning it in normal time.

Looking back, the first half of the game was the quietest, when Blackpool did have a reasonable amount of possession, but we defended so well when we had to and when they did get through goalkeeper Mark Crossley was dealing with everything.

As the half drew to a close we got on top and just a couple of minutes before the interval we took the lead although it seemed as though no one wanted to actually put the ball in the net. As the ball came across from the left it eluded at least two Burnley players but Dale Underwood came in to hit the ball home.

That lead could so easily have been doubled early in the second half when Rob Turner was brought down inside the penalty box but incredibly the officials waved it away. The referee appeared to look towards his assistant but the flag stayed down. It was a definite penalty and it brought the large contingent of Burnley fans to their feet in protest.

Having escaped that, the home side had their best spell of the game and put us under some pressure. A goal looked inevitable and it finally came as the ball got through for them to finish from close range.

We needed to get back into the game, and we did, and how, with a superb finish from Ali Akbar within a minute of the restart. Blackpool looked stunned and really from then on we were the better side. Alex McDonald, on as a sub for Rob Turner, twice came close before Smith hit the bar with a screamer from outside the box, but the third goal just wouldn't come.

Blackpool were reduced to ten in an off the ball incident, the player sent off twice back heading Ash Young in the face. The referee was left with no alternative but to show the red card.

It was us it seemed to have the most effect on though with Blackpool getting back at us and it proved costly when they equalised on 88 minutes with an effort that just about crept over the line. It was cruel on the young Clarets but it meant they would have to find another thirty minutes in extra time.

We did, and McDonald proved to be the match winner. He run on to an excellent through ball from Adam Kay to finish superbly during the first half of extra time and then, with the referee looking at his watch he finished well again to confirm that it would be claret and blue ribbon going on the cup we last won at Manchester City in 1995 with a Phil Eastwood goal.

As the final whistle blew, the Burnley fans were on their feet again, and make no mistake every bit of applause was very much deserved. These lads did us proud tonight, they did Burnley Football Club proud and as they went up to collect the Lancashire FA Youth Cup their heads were rightly held high.

It's our Year of the Youth, and we've gone and won ourselves a trophy. The future really is starting to look brighter and there's every chance we will be hearing a lot more about some of these players in the future.

I'd like though to say a special well done to the one player tonight who was playing his last game for the club – goalkeeper Mark Crossley. He had a good game, made some crucial saves with one brilliant effort to keep the ball out low to his left, and he was certainly enjoying himself on the pitch after the game, dancing around with the cup in his hand.

But really it has been a special night for all of them, and for us in the stands, we really could not have asked any more of them. Well done lads and we'll have that smartboard ready for you when you return for next season.

The teams were,

Blackpool: Kyle Clancy, Scott Metcalf, Sean Clancy, Dane Matthews, Ashton Bayliss, Nick Linford, Dominic Morella, Liam Caddick, Matthew Ogden, Matthew Kay, Phil Doran. Subs: Dale Warburton, Mark Halstead, Daniel Midgeley, Alex Smith, Danny Penswick.

Burnley: Mark Crossley, Dean Stott, Ben Hoskin, Tom Bradley, Paul Casey, Dale Underwood (Ash Young), Connor Smith, Adam Kay, Lewis Craig (Alex-Ray Harvey), Ali Akbar, Rob Turner (Alex McDonald). Subs not used: Chris Rowney, James Craggs.

Connor Smith leads the team up to collect the trophy
On the pitch after the presentation - goalkeeper Mark Crossley with the trophy