City youth suffer penalty heartbreak
St Albans City 2 (Jonathan O Donnell 88, James Macey 104) Wycombe Wanderers 2 (Conner Baker OG 4, Matthew McClure 114) Wycombe win 4-2 on penalties ST ALBANS City bowed out of the FA Youth Cup with their heads held high after being edged out by Wycombe W
St Albans City 2 (Jonathan O'Donnell 88, James Macey 104)
Wycombe Wanderers 2 (Conner Baker OG 4, Matthew McClure 114)
Wycombe win 4-2 on penalties
ST ALBANS City bowed out of the FA Youth Cup with their heads held high after being edged out by Wycombe Wanderers in a penalty shootout.
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James Macey and Rob Magwood were the unlucky men who missed from the spot as the League One side's youth team progressed to an away tie with Saints' local rivals Watford but it was far from easy for Wycombe.
The young Saints' night got off to a disastrous start when Wycombe took the lead in the fourth minute when Conner Baker deflected Thomas O'Regan's left wing cross into his own net.
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City responded well to their early set back and Jonathan O'Donnell maybe should have done better when he volleyed wide after Wycombe had only partially cleared their lines from a corner.
City came agonisingly close to drawing level 13 minutes in thanks to a great piece of play from O'Donnell. The former Watford youngster danced past his marker on the left wing before drilling the ball low into the Wycombe area. The ball reached Luke Jackaman at the far post and his snap shot was fantastically repelled by Matthew Ingram in the Wanderers goal.
An O'Donnell free kick had the Wanderers goalkeeper Ingram worried but the City man's effort narrowly cleared the bar and the same player saw his tame effort saved by the Wanderers stopper following a good run.
City goalkeeper Adam McWeeney was called into action to punch out Dean Wallace's venomous effort after the City defence had only partially cleared O'Regan's cross and another O'Donnell free kick early in the second half forced goalkeeper Ingram into action but the kick lacked the pace to really trouble the Wanderers custodian.
Real clear-cut chances were at a premium in the second half. A strong run down the right by Stefano Geraldes presented City with a chance when the Wycombe defence made a mess of the clearance but substitute Macey couldn't stab the ball past Ingram.
Baker nearly atoned for his earlier own goal but he couldn't get enough power on his header from Jackaman's free kick.
City's players have shown a great attitude throughout this cup run and just as it looked like Wycombe would close out the victory City grabbed a dramatic equaliser.
With 88 minutes on the clock, Geraldes looked to have lost the ball 20 yards out only for the ball to fall nicely for O'Donnell who rattled home the ball to send the Saints fans ecstatic.
The game went into extra time and City should have taken the lead when Ben Spaul's long ball reached Macey at the far post, however the City winger's first touch was poor and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.
Wycombe came within a whisker of regaining the lead when Matthew McClure's glancing header scooted inches past the far post.
City took the lead in the 104th minute when Macey reacted first to a bouncing ball in the box. Jimmy Davis advanced down the right and delivered a great ball into the box and although Macey's initial effort was blocked the City sub reacted quickest to drill the ball home from six yards.
It was now City's turn to try and see out the game but it wasn't to be as Wycombe drew level in the in the 114th minute. Davis failed to clear a cross in his own box and McClure stabbed home from close range to take the game to penalties.
Wycombe went first with O'Regan confidently converting but Macey fired over City's first effort. Wallace and George Saunders both converted their penalties before McClure fired over to hand City a lifeline. Unfortunately City weren't able to take it with Magwood's effort saved allowing Palladino to restore Wycombe's lead. The visitors thought they'd advanced when Geraldes' effort came off the bar before coming back down and going in off the goalkeeper. It mattered little though as Joshua Scowen scored to send Wycombe through.
St Albans City: McWeeney; Spaul, Dedman (Macey 65), Baker, Eadie (Davis 88); Jackaman, Magwood, Saunders, O'Donnell; Muskwe (Logon 69), Geraldes.
Subs: Adams, Thomas.
Wycombe Wanderers: Ingram, Kenley-Graham, Stewart, Saku, Styles (Federico 67); Harris (Palladino 79), Scowen, Belcher (Ware 115), O'Regan; McClure, Wallace.
Subs: Raphael, Grayley.
Wycombe Wanderers: O'Regan - scored; Wallace - scored; McClure - over; Palladino - scored; Scowen - scored.
St Albans City: Macey - over; Saunders - scored; Magwood - saved; Geraldes - scored.