REPORT: Peterborough United 2, Doncaster Rovers 1: Late comeback seals fourth round FA Youth Cup tie against Premier League opposition
Substitute Kellan Hickinson made a decisive impact as Posh scored twice in the final 20 minutes to beat Doncaster 2-1 in the third round of the FA Youth Cup at the Weston Homes Stadium today (March 19).
Midfielder Hickinson didn’t score after replacing first-team squad striker Ricky-Jade Jones in the 65th minute, but he was tripped for the penalty that enabled captain Charlie O’Connell to equalise.
Hickinson’s shot was then parried into the path of Nicky Gyimah-Bio for the winning goal four minutes from time.
The reward for Posh is a fourth round tie at home to Premier League Sheffield United.
The pre-match team news suggested Posh would be up against it as several senior players were absent because of injury including first-teamers Flynn Clarke and Ronnie Edwards, and star forward Adler Nascimento. Manager Matthew Etherington only named four substitutes.
Jones, a likely first-team substitute at Rochdale tomorrow, did start though and initially he and power forward Hameed Ishola looked set to cause the visitors problems.
Ishola should have scored in the early stages when Roddy McGlinchey’s cross found him eight yards from goal, but he headed wide.
Jones was soon wriggling his way along the Doncaster goalline before his cross was intercepted and he then beat visiting ‘keeper Ben Bottomley to a McGlinchey through ball, but was forced too wide to cause any furher damage.
But after a sluggish start Doncaster took control around the 20-minute mark and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the half.
They were quicker to the ball, won all the important challenges as Posh conceded a succession of free kicks.
O’Connell and fellow centre-back Harry Thomas made good blocks before Doncaster took the lead from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.
Posh defended a corner well initially, but Ishola’s attempted clearance instead became a boot in the midriff of an opponent enabling Liam Ravenhill to convert confidently from the penalty spot.
Posh were better after the break. Jones started to run strongly with the ball, no easy task on this pitch, but he struggled to get complete control, although it took a fine last-ditch challenge to thwart him on the hour mark. Five minutes later Jones was off, presumably with the trip to Rochdale in mind.
And within five mnutes his replacement Hickinson burst into the penalty area and was tripped. O’Connell sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot to equalise 20 minutes from time.
Doncaster responded well to the Posh equaliser and a free kick from Ethan Bojan was well saved by Lakin before Gyimah-Bio’s set-piece was tipped over the bar by Bottomley.
But Posh now looked the more likely to score. Fine work from Hickinson set Gyimah-Bio away, but Bottomley was out quickly to smother.
But the same Posh pair were not be denied four minutes from time. Gyimah-Bio broke away, fed Hickinson whose 20 yard shot was more accurate than powerful.
But Bottomley could only turn it into Gyimah’s path and he tapped home into an empty net.
Posh survived one late scare as a left-wing cross evaded two lunging forwards in the final minute before they could celebrate a fine win.
O’Connell and Thomas defended solidly throughout, supported well by full-backs Shaun Keane and Oscar Tonge.
Gyimah-Bio was excellent after the break and improved further when Hickinson arrived.
Posh: William Lakin, Shaun Keane, Oscar Tonge, Ben Challinor, Harry Thomas, Charlie O’Connell, Roddy McGlinchey, William Van Lier, Hameed Ishola, Nicky Gyimah-Bio, Ricky-Jade Jones (sub Kellan Hickinson, 65 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jonas Bodnar, Jacob Goodley, Lewis Darlington.
Doncaster: Ben Bottomley, Tom Henson, Charlie Bell, Ethan Bojang, Bobby Faulkner, Lewis Cunningham, Will Hollings, Liam Ravenhill, Alex Wolny, Corie Cole, Tayonga Kuleya (sub Owan Derratt 60 mins).
Unused substitutes: Daniel Wilds, Luke Chadwick, Michael Nesbitt, Luca Nelson, Max Jemson, Tom Parkinson.
Goals: Posh - O’Connell (penalty, 71 mins), Gyimah (86 mins).
Doncaster - Ravenhill (penalty, 33 mins).