The Iron’s Under-18s team progressed to the semi-final of the Youth Alliance Cup after defeating Blackpool 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 away draw in 90 minutes.
United went into the game with only two substitutes after injuries affected their build-up. Tom Pugh was injured in a behind-closed-doors reserve game on Tuesday, while Sam Riches pulled early on Friday morning with a knee injury sustained on Thursday.
The game was played at Myerscough College in Preston, changing to the 4G facilities as the grass was waterlogged.
Blackpool had previously knocked Scunthorpe out of the FA Youth Cup, so Scunthorpe knew it would be a tough game. The Iron altered a few things to surprise Blackpool, changing the formation and playing in a different way.
It had the desired effect as United scored after four minutes, with Harry Jessop turning on the edge of the box and striking past the goalkeeper from eight yards to make it 1-0.
The Iron rode their luck quite a bit and on 16 minutes there was an injury to Aidan Train, who was down for a while after getting caught in the face.
Soon after, Scunthorpe won their first corner and from it, the ball hit the referee and reached Train, who played the ball in for Miracle Okafor, whose header was cleared off the line.
On 22 minutes, Blackpool went on the counter-attack and had a one-on-one, with Tom Collins making the save and pushing wide for a corner.
In the 25th minute, there was a point blank save from Collins, who turned the ball wide for another corner.
Two minutes later, Blackpool came close again when a long ball out from the back wasn’t dealt with and the ball was crossed. Jack Harrison then cleared the header off the line.
On 35 minutes, the hosts saw a long range strike blocked by Cameron Morfoot. At half-time, Scunthorpe led 1-0 after long periods of defending.
The home team made a bright start to the second period, pushing people forward, but couldn’t breach the Iron’s good defensive shape.
In the 61st minute, there was a block off the line by Harrison as the ball landed in Collins’ hands.
Blackpool’s winger cut inside and curled a shot that went wide of the post on 70 minutes. Then, a minute later, Joey Dawson intercepted on the halfway line, ran through and his pass was a little bit too firm to put in Louis Collins.
At this stage, Scunthorpe made a change as Joey Dawson came off after working his socks off and was replaced by Cameron Wilson.
The hosts hit the post in the 73rd minute and on the rebound a Seasiders player then hit the crossbar. From this, Scunthorpe conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box. The free-kick was sent in and hit the bar.
United again defended really well and faced a succession of corners on 81 minutes, which came to nothing.
In the 83rd minute, the home side got the equaliser as the ball was crossed in from the left-hand side and the ball was tapped in by their dangerous centre-forward.
At that point, the hosts thought they were going to go on and win the game but United dug in.
On 87 minutes, Levi Gallimore won the ball and played in Collins, who shot from an angle but the goalkeeper made a great save to stop it heading into the top corner.
After the game finished 1-1, it went straight to penalties.
United took the first spot-kick through Louis Collins, who scored to make it 1-0. The hosts then equalised with their first penalty. Gallimore scored his to make it 2-1, and the Seasiders then missed. Miracle Okafor took the third one and scored while Blackpool then missed again. Train took the final penalty and scored to win the game.
It was a really good result and the team were looking more at that aspect than the performance today. The philosophy went right out of the window but United went with a gameplan and, though at times rode their league, did really well to come away to a good side and see it through.
They will host Wigan Athletic in the semi-final at the start of January, with details to be confirmed in due course.
TEAM: T Collins, Baker, Morfoot, Dawson (Wilson, 72), Harrison, Silva, Gallimore, L Collins, Okafor, Jessop (Wilkinson, 88), Train.