Blackpool’s youth team were beaten at the final hurdle on Wednesday, as Oldham Athletic won the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup 4-3 on penalties at Bloomfield Road.
After a 1-1 draw in normal time, which saw 15-year-old debutant Sam Roscoe’s second-half goal for The Seasiders cancelled out by Danny Byrnes, the ten-man Latics claimed victory in the shootout through substitute Ryan Ellison’s winning spot-kick.
Oldham’s George Edmundson had been shown his second yellow card midway through the second period and defender Roscoe, who will become a first-year scholar next season, capitalised by flicking in Mitchell Clayton’s corner with 14 minutes left.
But Richie Kyle’s side, who twice hit the woodwork through George Lomax and Henry Cameron, were out of luck as Byrnes’ unstoppable half-volley in the 90th minute forced penalties.
And The Latics then scored four of their five spot-kicks in the shootout, with goalkeeper Joel Coleman saving from Pool's Clayton and substitute Dion Charles.
The evening marked the end of the 2013/14 season for Pool’s youth team, who beat Oldham to the Youth Alliance’s North West league title, and saw many of the youngsters pull on the shirt for the final time.
Head of Coaching Richie Kyle was without defender Harrison McGahey ahead of the match due to the defender’s first-team commitments, so he threw in 15-year-old Roscoe at centre-back for his debut.
It was one of three changes to the Blackpool side which knocked out rivals Preston North End 4-1 in the semi-finals, as Charles and Rowan Richardson made way for Conor Ready and Clayton.
And Pool’s defence was under early pressure as the North West league’s top scorer, Jordan Bove, blasted high and wide after Eddie Fulwood pulled the ball back from the left.
At the other end, The Seasiders’ first chance fell to Luke Higham, who cut in from the right but rolled his strike wide of the near post.
Captain Sam Staunton-Turner then pulled the ball back to Dominic Telford from the left, and the striker let it roll across his body seeing his powerful strike punched away.
It was a physical battle between the two sides to begin with, and Oldham thought they had taken the lead after 28 minutes when Fulwood, who had again burst down the left, crossed to Bove at the far post. Bove fired the ball back across goal and Jacobs tapped into the net at the far post, although the offside flag was raised to deny him.
And back came Blackpool seven minutes before half-time, with two chances for Telford. First, the striker placed the ball into Joel Coleman’s hand from the edge of the box, before Lomax slid him in a minute later, but his strike was beaten away by The Latics’ goalkeeper.
Ready also tried his luck before half-time, looking to replicate his stunning goal against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup in December, but it remained goalless at the break.
Half Time: Blackpool 0 Oldham 0
The young Seasiders continued to attack after the break, and Telford was denied when Fulwood got back to his goal-line to clear the striker’s prod under Coleman, after being played in by Henry Cameron.
At the other end, Bove broke free on the right side of the box but blasted into the side netting.
Chances arrived for either side, and when Cameron’s free-kick from the left dropped to Mark Waddington, the midfielder could only fire wide of the left post inside the box.
An hour had passed and still it was goalless, and Lomax was desperately unlucky not to change that sooner when his strike from 30 yards out came back off the crossbar with Coleman beaten.
There was some luck for Kyle’s side, though, when Edmundson was sent off for a second bookable offence with 25 minutes to go.
The resulting free-kick from Telford fizzed just past the far post, and Charles also went close with Coleman having to parry his low drive from long range.
Blackpool’s goal finally arrived in the 76th minute however, and it was a dream moment for Roscoe who flicked Clayton’s corner from the right low into the far corner for what looked to be the winner.
It should have been all over with three minutes left, when Cameron cut in from the left and smacked the far post with a low attempt.
However, there was one final twist as Oldham’s Byrnes hit a looping half-volley beyond Connor Hunt and into the top corner, sending the game straight to penalties.
Full Time: Blackpool 1 Oldham 1
In the shootout, Clayton was denied with the first kick before Tom Clarke put the Latics in front, although when Waddington scored Pool’s second kick, Hunt saved from Mike Brewster to level.
Telford and Oldham’s Will Kinder both scored their next penalties before Bove capitalised on Charles’ miss to put the Tony Philliskirk’s side 3-2 ahead.
Staunton-Turner held his nerve to make it 3-3, but Ellison scored the winner to help Oldham, who finished second in the North West league table, lift the trophy.
AFTER PENALTIES: 4-3 TO OLDHAM ON PENS
BLACKPOOL [4-4-2]: Hunt; Higham, Moulden, Roscoe, Clayton; Cameron, Waddington, Staunton-Turner (c), Ready (Charles, 59); Telford, Lomax (Shaw, 79).
SUBS: Milton, Wilson, Shaw, Cato, Charles.
GOALS: Roscoe (76).
OLDHAM [4-4-1-1]: Coleman; Etches, Clarke (c), Edmundson, Fulwood; Jacobs (Walters, 79), Brewster, Foulds (Kinder, 68), Tuohy (Ellison, 67); Byrnes; Bove.
SUBS: Tyson, Kinder, Walters, Tansinda, Ellison.
GOALS: Byrnes (90).