Bedfordshire win County Youth Cup on penalties after dramatic comeback against Manchester
Bedfordshire 4-4 Manchester
Bedfordshire won 4-2 on penalties
The FA County Youth Cup Final
Saturday 20 April
It took a dramatic penalty shootout to decide The FA County Youth Cup Final as Bedfordshire FA overcame Manchester FA 4-2 on spot-kicks after an eight-goal thriller.
When Josh Terry stepped up to fire home Bedfordshire FA’s winning strike, it completed what was the most incredible of comebacks.
But their opponents must still be wondering how this match managed to slip from their grasp.
Manchester's three second-half goals through young substitute, Josh Smethurst, and a brace from Adam Bezzina, looked to be sending them comfortably to Cup glory.
However, Bedfordshire had other ideas. When Terry pulled one back in the 63rd minute, few expected it to be more than a consolation.
But with four minutes left on the clock Bradley Johnson fired home from close range to set up a grandstand finish.
Manchester tried to hang on but, with two minutes of stoppage time remaining, Terry was again on hand to grab a dramatic equaliser.
Indeed, with virtually the last kick of the game, substitute Sid Gosling somehow managed to prod his shot agonisingly wide with the goal gaping and glory beckoning.
Bedfordshire captain Leigh Stevens looked to have sealed the win in the 112th minute, heading powerfully home past Matthew Green.
It was not to be, though as two minutes later Manchester levelled from the penalty spot. Bezzina’s shot from 12 yards was initially saved, but he followed up to bury the rebound.
With the score level at 4-4 at the end of extra time, the match went to penalties.
Two failures from Manchester left Terry with the task of completing Bedfordshire’s unlikely resurrection and he slammed his penalty home off the underside of the crossbar to send both his team and their travelling fans into delirium.
Manager Jon Reed was delighted with his side’s never-say-die spirit: “With 20 minutes to go we’re done.
"But these boys do what they always do. They dug in and refused to lose. Defeat is not an option for them.”
Green, Allen, Wallwork (James 82), Callacher (Rattigan 69), Rathbone, Rutter (Smethurst 58), Goodwin, Bezzina, Taylor (C), Poizer
Subs not used: Lever, Gallagher, James
Fulton, Terry, Reinsford, Sweeney (Gosling 73), Collins, Norman, Stevens (C), O’Neill (Brasier 55), Lannon (Danobrega), Caglar, Johnson
Subs not used: Moynihan, Darlow
Referee: Seb Stockbridge