Charlton 1-1 U18s (after extra-time)
United's U18s are cruelly beaten on penalties in the U18 Professional Development League 2 play-off final at The Valley on Monday evening.
Having battled gamely throughout the tie, including an energy sapping 30 minutes of extra-time, the home side scored all their spot kicks to run out winners, for United Brodie Litchfield and Shea Gordon were the unfortunate Blades to miss from the twelve yards.
Earlier, Karlan Ahearne-Grant sent the tie into extra-time, scoring two minutes from time, after Jordan Hallam's thunderbolt of a free-kick had fired the Blades into an early lead.
United started positively and Hall had a effort blocked from Gilmour's long throw in the visitors first attack, before the Blades deservedly went ahead in just the sixth minute. The referee award a free-kick fully 25 yards from goal after Lapsile hauled down skipper Gordon and HALLAM fired home a stunning effort into the top corner past the despairing dive of Beeney.
The visitors were looking a constant threat each time they attacked, and only a superb challenge from Konsa denied Hall a sight of goal, whilst Gordon had three attempts at goal inside the opening half hour, the last of which nearly caught Beeney. At the other end, Cummings and the covering Brown did well to snuff the danger after Anderson had robbed Charlesworth and advanced at the Blades backline.
Having being in control for the opening 40 minutes, United almost conceded as half-time approached. Bah got in behind Charlesworth and Ahearne-Grant fired over from point blank range from his cut back. Ahearne-Grant was again involved in the Addicks next attack and Ramsdale was called upon to make a save at his near post.
The game had really opened up in the final moments of the first period and Hall was inches away from doubling the Blades lead after Brown had got the better of his man overlapping on the left-wing. And deep into stoppage-time only the brilliance of Ramsdale preserved the visitors advantage as he saved excellently from Millar's downward header after he had got in at the back post from Lapslie's free-kick.
The beginning of the second-half saw the home side on top and Ramsdale was needed just before the hour to deny Ahearne-Grant, then moments later the Addicks failed to get capitalise on good work from Bah, with the ball flying across the face of goal. For the Blades, Litchfield was introduced with Crofts making way.
As the clock approached the 70th minute, following a swift break, Ramsdale was down smartly to his left to save from Ahearne-Grant again. In response, a counter attack saw United, through Litchfield run at pace, before shooting straight at Beeney.
With the clock ticking down, both sides made a change, with Adebowale added to the action in place of goalscorer Hallam, prior to Hall being booked for unsporting behaviour. Just when it looked like the Blades had done enough, the Addicks equalised with just two minutes of remaining. Konsa chested down for substitute Yamfam, who ran at the United defence, before threading a ball through to AHEARNE-GRANT who slotted into the net, despite Ramsdale's best efforts.
Charlton, with their tails up finished the four added minutes the strongest, but were unable to find a winner, meaning extra-time would be required. And United had two major frights within four minutes of the additional 30. Ahearne-Grant burst past Charlesworth before seeing a combination of Ramsdale and the post deny him, then Willis fired across the face of goal from inside the area.
Despite being under a lot of pressure, the Blades continued to create opportunities of their own, only a double block denied Gordon from the edge of the box, after Gilmour's long throw wasn't cleared properly. Semple was then booked for a mistimed tackle on Yamfam and from the resulting free-kick, controversy threatened to take over the tie. Ahearne-Grant curled home past Ramsdale, but it was eventually disallowed for offside, after three home players were deemed to have caused an obstruction having placed themselves in front of the Blades stopper, although initially the goal looked like being allowed to stand.
In stoppage time at the end of the first period of extra-time the referee was again in the thick of the action, as Brown was adjudged to have fouled Yamfam and the left-back was booked, despite the Charlton striker appearing to have no chance of getting the ball.
At the start of the second period of extra-time, Charlesworth was yellow carded for pulling back Sarpong-Wiredu, but Ahearne-Grant fired over the subsequent free-kick. The Blades were visibly tiring and Adebowale nearly inadvertently deflected Doughty's cross into his own net. At the other end, United had appeals for a penalty waved away as Yao tangled legs with Tyler Smith. With just three minutes remaining, Semple headed over from a corner when unmarked, but ultimately the tie was to be decided on penalties.
Brown scored (1-0)
Ahearne-Grant scored (1-1)
Ramsdale scored (2-1)
Bone scored (2-2)
Semple scored (3-2)
Lapsile scored (3-3)
Litchfield saved (3-3)
Konsa scored (3-4)
Gordon saved (3-4)
Charlton: Beeney, Sarpong-Wiredu, Konsa, Yao, Doughty, Bone, Millar (Assiana 62), Lapslie, Bah (Yamfam 88), Anderson (Willis 76), Ahearne-Grant.
Unused: Prall, Maloney.
Blades: Ramsdale, Charlesworth, Brown, Gilmour, Cummings, Semple, Crofts (Litchfield 58), Gordon, Hall (T. Smith 95) Hallam (Adebowale 76), K. Smith.
Unused: Perryman, Slater.