Cropper fires Clarets through in youth cup
Jordan Cropper started the game at right-back but moved up front for the second half and with just over seven minutes of the game remaining became Burnley’s match winner as we beat Leeds 1-0 in the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup.
17-year-old Cropper (pictured), who has previously been in the academy at Nottingham Forest, his home town club, latched on to a ball midway in the Leeds half. A pass to the left looked the most likely but he moved forward with the ball himself before unleashing a shot from fully 25-yards that zipped into the bottom left hand corner of the net, a goal which signalled wild celebrations on the pitch and the touchline from the young Burnley players.
I’d like to say it was no more than we deserved in what had been a good performance, but that’s not the case on this occasion. It was our only on target effort all night and, on the balance of play, it was Leeds who always looked the more likely to break the deadlock and go through.
They might have scored twice in the opening few minutes of the game. Whether we were nervous or not playing under the lights on the Turf, I don’t know, but we struggled to get our game going. We survived those opening chances and got back into the game but there was little to enthuse from either side then for the remainder of the first half.
Leeds still looked the better of the two but even they created next to nothing and by the time the half came to an end it was no surprise that it was still 0-0.
The line up which, as expected, showed eleven changes from that which had beaten Leeds in the league two days ago, looked a bit disjointed to me in terms of formation. With Cropper back in the defence, we looked short further forward with Dwight McNeil employed as a lone striker, certainly not his best position, and as the half went on he dropped deeper and deeper to try and get into the game.
We made a switch at half time with Kwasinkosi Mpofu coming on at left-back. Cropper went up front with James Clarke moving into the right-back berth and Scott Wilson joining Oliver Younger in the centre of the defence. It certainly improved us and we came close to breaking the deadlock early in the half when McNeil fired a shot just wide and a few minutes later tried a speculative effort that only just missed the target.
But Leeds came back and we certainly had some defending to do in that second half. We did that defending really well which meant Adam Bruce in goal was only once really called into serious action.
Then came the goal just as we were hoping that, at best, we might take the game into extra time. We negotiated our way to the ninety minutes with no alarms but then saw the fourth official hold up the board showing six extra minutes.
The game was stopped at the time as Burnley brought on Dylon Meredith for the injured Dan Moss and so, wrongly as it turned out, we thought the referee would add one on to the six. Thankfully he didn’t and in fact didn’t even play the full six minutes.
But Leeds came very close once, right at the end when they won a free kick some way outside of the box. It was hearts in mouths as the ball looked to be heading into the corner of the net, but Bruce got across to tip it away and the game was won.
There is no doubt this Burnley team have played better this season, but when not at their best tonight they showed all the characteristics of this club of ours right now. They worked hard, defended superbly well when they had to, and that always kept them in the game.
Hopefully, we’ll get another home draw in the next round to give these lads another opportunity to shine and show off their best form on the Turf.
The teams were;
Burnley: Adam Bruce, Jordan Cropper, Oliver Younger, James Clarke, Scott Wilson, Tristan Jumeau, Ethan Kershaw, Dan Moss (Dylon Meredith 90+1), Jordan Barnett (Mitchell George 73), Kian Yari (Kwasinkosi Mpofu ht), Dwight McNeil.
Leeds: Harrison Male, Lucas Odunston (Alex Wollerton 73), Robbie Gotts, Alfie McCalmont (Theodore Hudson 90), Liam Kitching, Oliver Casey, Bobby Kamwa, Jamie Shackleton, Kun Temenuzhkov, Callum Nicell, Jack Clarke. Subs not used: Moise Kroma, Luke Lyons, Samuel Amissah.
Attendance: 328.Follow UpTheClarets:
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