By Scott Taylor
Sergi Canos and Jerome Sinclair’s goals helped Liverpool Under 18s ease through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 2-0 win over Bradford. They next face the winners of Derby County, who beat Brighton & Hove Albion in their third round tie. It took Neil Critchley’s side just five minutes to seal the victory as his Young Reds were too strong for the Bantams.
Liverpool were ahead after two minutes when Sinclair helped the ball reach Sheyi Ojo after latching onto a back-pass from Bradford captain James Pollard. The attacking midfielder had the option to shoot, but found an unmarked Canos, who tapped it into an empty net past Bradford ‘keeper Elliot Barker.
Ojo was influential in the Reds’ second of the game moments later. The Under 21s man was found by Pedro Chirivella and he looked up and found Sinclair, whose composed finish beat Barker. Sinclair, Liverpool’s youngest ever player, cut inside from the left and clinically powered a shot with his right foot into the bottom corner.
Neil Critchley’s side thought they had put the tie to bed moments later when Ojo rose above the Bantams defence to nod home for a well deserved goal, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside. All the chances were falling to the Red men and Adam Phillips then almost extended Liverpool’s lead, but his 35-yard free-kick beat Barker but smashed off the crossbar.
Liverpool were now cruising but still wanted to keep a clean sheet. The visitors did have chances few and far between, but Sumali Cissa’s low shot was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Andrew Firth. Pollard then attempted to make up for his earlier error, but his overhead kick went over Firth’s crossbar.
Their final attempt in the half fell to Sam Wright, who blazed it over following a mistake from Firth. However, the League One side couldn’t keep up their offensive play, and the Reds latched onto this and exploited it. Canos forced a smart stop from Barker, before Ojo tested the number one shortly after.
Phillips’ cross ball pass found Ojo who still couldn’t get his deserved goal as he shot straight at the on-rushing Barker. Sinclair then wasted another Liverpool chance to make it 3-0, as he blazed over when he should really have done better. Despite this, Reece Webb-Foster came close to pulling one back for Bradford, but Firth denied him brilliantly.
Even with second-half substitutes Harry Wilson and Joe Lewis, Liverpool couldn’t add to their tally, but comfortably controlled possession to progress through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
Liverpool XI: Firth; Polgar, Whelan, Brewitt; Kent, Rossiter, Phillips, Chirivella, Ojo; Canos, Sinclair.
Bradford XI: Barker; Jenkinson, Devine, Pollard, Kershaw; Mottley-Henry, King, Wright, Cissa; Webb-Foster, Chippendale.
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