By Scott Taylor
Adam Phillips scored a 92nd minute winner as Liverpool U18s beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 in the FA Youth Cup fifth round at the County Ground on Thursday evening. Herbie Kane gave the visitors the lead in the first half with his first goal of the season, slotting home after receiving a pass from Brooks Lennon. Adam Crookes then scored an 87th minute equaliser and thought he’d forced extra time, but Phillips won it for Neil Critchley’s side five minutes later.
After a sluggish start, Liverpool created the first real opportunity in the 17th minute, when Phillips’ long range effort deflected just wide. However, the hosts, who had scored 53 goals in their last 20 games, grew into the game and went close after half-an-hour. Ryan Yates headed just wide after rising highest in the area, before Ben Brereton, who has scored over 30 goals so far this season, had two efforts blocked. From the latter of the two shots, Lennon counter-attacked for the Reds, picked out an unmarked Kane, and the former Bristol City midfielder fired it off the underside of the crossbar to put Liverpool ahead.
Forest responded brightly, and almost equalised moments before half-time, but Shamal George made a strong save from Elvis Otim. The second half started just as the first one finished, with Otim again being denied by Liverpool goalkeeper George. The hosts continued to dominate, with Gerry McDonough firing wide, but the Reds spurned a good opportunity to double their lead.
Toni Gomes, who was scouted as on of the brightest young prospects by SportBILD, went close to proving why but he had his effort saved by Jordan Wright. Normal service was resumed in the 70th minute, when Forest striker Brereton fired wide.
As the game grew on, Liverpool started to make their experience count. Kane had two chances to grab his and his side’s second of the match, but was denied by Wright. The hosts went up the other end and substitute Liam Adams forced two breathtaking saves from George. The pressure eventually told when Crookes’ header levelled the tie in the 88th minute.
In a frantic final few minutes of the game, Ben Woodburn set up Phillips, who followed up his late equaliser at Everton in September with another late goal to win in for Liverpool. Critchley’s side will now face Arsenal or Coventry in the quarter-finals.
Liverpool XI: George; Alexander-Arnold, Masterson, Parker, Owens; Phillips, Kane; Lennon, Alves (Gomes), Ejaria (Coyle); Woodburn.
By Scott Taylor