Charlton’s youngsters saw their FA Youth Cup campaign come to an end in the third round at Preston North End on Tuesday evening in dramatic fashion, losing out on penalties following an entertaining affair.
It was a tale of four penalties inside 90 minutes with the home side twice netting from the spot, as well as having one saved, while the Addicks also converted from 12 yards themselves through Kareem Isiaka, before equalising for a second time courtesy of Euan Williams to force extra-time following a 2-2 scoreline.
Ultimately, though, penalties would be the only thing standing in the way of a fourth-round berth, and it was Preston who came out on top 3-1 at Deepdale.
It was all-action from minute one and the Addicks nearly drew first blood in the opening stages. First, Charlie Barker saw his goal-bound header tipped over by the keeper, before Terrell Agyemang drew a point-blank save from the resulting corner.
It would be Preston, however, who would open the scoring after five minutes when Freddie Barton was harshly adjudged to have tripped Ethan Walker in the box, leaving Jake Baxter to tuck away his penalty.
The home side came close to a second shortly after with Tyrhys Dolan firing against the post from close range, but the Addicks remained a threat at the other end, coming inches away from a leveller when Richard Chin struck just over an unguarded net from Isiaka’s rebound.
Tyrone Kirunda was next to threaten, cushioning a volley narrowly wide from six yards out and five minutes from the break, Charlton finally got their equaliser.
After Isiaka was felled inside the penalty area, the striker dusted himself off to step up and send the keeper the wrong way. But the penalties just kept coming, with Preston winning their second of the evening almost immediately.
Once again, it was Walker drawing a foul from Barton and Baxter went toe-to-toe for a second time with Joseph Osaghae. But it was the Addicks stopper who came out on top on this occasion, diving to his left to keep out his penalty effort.
The enthralling nature of the game continued into the second half, as did the spot-kicks, with yet another awarded to the hosts after Jerome Jolly had been fouled. Penalty responsibilities now had now switched to Walker who dispatched his shot into the top left-hand corner, despite Osaghae guessing the right way once more.
Sergei Baltacha and Anthony Hayes’ side were still very much in the tie and went in search of another equaliser. James Gody dragged a shot wide with just the goalkeeper to beat, while Charlie Barker forced a good save as Charlton turned the screw.
On 75 minutes, they finally made it count. A cross from the right was brought down by Williams before finishing confidently from six yards to make it 2-2.
Charlton thought they had snatched it at the death when Isiaka’s close-range effort was cleared off the line before the keeper collected the danger and, although, it looked as if it may have crossed the line, play was waved on and the game headed into an extra 30 minutes.
With legs tiring and the game stretched, neither side could find a way through to prevent a penalty shootout, so the tie was to be decided from 12 yards.
Jack Armer, Adam O’Reilly and Walker all converted for the hosts, while Baxter fired wide and keeper Jimmy Corcoran would prove to be the Preston hero as he kept out Williams and Luca Albon’s efforts, while Richard Afrane-Kesey struck the bar to seal Charlton’s fate and send the home side into the fourth round.
Charlton U18s: Osaghae, Barton, Barker, Kirunda (Keefe 86), Aidoo, Agyemang (Godding 53), Vennings, Chin (Afrane-Kesey 70), Isiaka, Williams, Gody (Albon 103).
Subs (not used): Harvey.
Goals: Isiaka (pen) 40, Williams 75
(Images: Preston North End)