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Plymouth Argyle beat Manchester City in the last round and now they’ve knocked Burnley out of the FA Youth Cup, beating us 1-0 at Turf Moor tonight. We might well have dominated the game, virtually from start to finish, but it is full credit to our visitors who have battled hard and kept a clean sheet for a second time to win through another round.

For much of the game a Burnley defeat never looked likely. There was a feeling that we would eventually get ourselves a goal and go on to win it, but that goal didn’t come and then, when it looked certain to go into extra time, Plymouth won it in the third minute of stoppage time with their only on target shot of the night.

Dwight McNeil force a superb save from Plymouth goalkeeper Michael Cooper
Dwight McNeil force a superb save from Plymouth goalkeeper Michael Cooper

It was frustrating for most of the first half. Despite having all the play we created precious little against a well disciplined Argyle side. We had a couple of shots wide and didn’t really trouble Michael Cooper the visiting keeper until the last few minutes of the half. Then he made an outstanding save to deny Dwight McNeil, tipping his long distance shot over the bar and then getting down well to save virtually on the half time whistle.

If we had most of the play in the first half, then we dominated the ball even more after the break but the frustrations rose as we struggled to create any real chances of note and when we did get in shots, again Cooper was up to everything.

He made one double save which was exceptional. He couldn’t hold the first one but then somehow got down to block Michael Fowler’s effort on the rebound. It didn’t actually count for anything with Fowler flagged offside but it was a terrific save.

It was only in the closing minutes that we saw anything of Plymouth. They fired a couple of warning shots, both well wide, but there was no real obvious threat and when the board went up for four extra minutes it looked just about certain that we’d be going into extra time.

Then came their one chance and they took it when Billy Craske brought clear and slotted it past the oncoming Adam Bruce.

There was one frantic push, and we did win a corner, but this was now Plymouth’s night and a disappointing one for Burnley with the Devon side moving into the last sixteen of the competition.

Coach Danny Cadamarteri said: “It’s really frustrating. I’m gutted for the boys. To be fair we had the lion’s share of the play, but Plymouth have come here to do a job and same as the previous round when they played Manchester City they did pretty much the same thing and camped in and we have been hit by a sucker-punch chasing the game at the end.

“We probably didn’t work the goalkeeper as much as we would have liked in the first half, but we did then work him and the goalkeeper had an outstanding game.

“Even though we controlled possession and controlled the game I don’t feel we did enough to go and create and score a goal.

“We’ve got to take it on the chin and due respect to them. They’ve travelled up a long way and they’ve done a job.”

He said of the defeat: “That should hopefully build resilience. I’ve told them all in the dressing room to embrace the disappointment and how they feel now.  There was a nice crowd out for them to watch the game and if you want to play in front of big crowds in their football careers they’re going to face disappointments and that’s the learning curve for them.

“We’ve said to them to embrace that, reflect on that tonight, reflect on it tomorrow, put it to bed on Sunday and then we come in on Monday and we start to continue the second half of the league season and look to the Lancashire Cup as well.”

A delighted Argyle coach Kevin Hodges said: “It was the perfect time to score. It didn’t give Burnley any time to get back into what was a very close game.”

Happy with another clean sheet, he added: “Funnily enough, the defence has been an area that’s concerned me this season. We have leaked some poor goals but, since the cup run, we have instilled some discipline and when Michael Cooper is in goal, he has a big impact on our defence.”

The teams were;

Burnley: Adam Bruce, James Clarke, Oliver Younger, Scott Wilson, Kwasinkosi Mpofu (Mitchell George 90+4), Tristan Jumeau (Marley Blair 58), Dan Moss, Dwight McNeil, Kian Yari, Jordan Barnett, Michael Fowler (Jordan Cropper 85). Subs not used: Harry Allen, Ethan Kershaw.

Plymouth: Michael Cooper, Tom Purrington, Ryan Law, Cameron Sangster, Harry Downing, Elliott Crawford, Billy Craske, Michael Peck, Klaidi Lolos, Rio Garside (Matt Ward 67), Luke Jephcott. Subs not used: Harry Hodges, Max Childs, Aaron Goulty, Andrew Burn.

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