Match reportLiverpool U18s advance in FA Youth Cup after win at Port Vale
Liverpool U18s reached the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup after a 1-0 victory away at Port Vale on Wednesday evening.
Michael Laffey's goal midway through the first half at Vale Park was enough to secure passage to the last 16 of the prestigious competition for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson's side.
Port Vale crafted several chances to equalise and take the fourth-round tie to extra-time, but the Reds had goalkeeper Luke Hewitson and the woodwork to thank as they progressed.
An open start to the contest presented both teams with goalscoring opportunities inside the first five minutes.
Laffey went through on goal but fired just wide following Jayden Danns' nudge forward, before Wellity Lucky was in position to clear off the line from Port Vale skipper James Plant's effort after they launched a counter-attack.
Bobby Clark forced Reuben Perry into a low save, though the Port Vale stopper's unsuccessful clearance in minute 19 allowed Liverpool to take the lead.
The visitors defended a corner and immediately launched a break, with Iwan Roberts then sending a ball over the top for Laffey to chase. Perry rushed off his line to clear the danger but didn't make contact, allowing Laffey the simplest of finishes.
Vale looked to respond before half-time and put their opponents under heavy pressure.
Eli Fisher was fractionally off-target with a header from a corner, as Hewitson did brilliantly to deny Plant in a one-v-one situation on the stroke of the interval.
The Reds survived more let-offs early in the second period; full-back Ben Lomax headed onto the crossbar before Plant forced Hewitson into another intervention.
But their backline shored up more as the game moved towards its closing stages, although Vale's Tommy McDermott tested Hewitson from a clever free-quick routine in the 80th minute.
Che Trapasso had one last chance for Vale shortly before the end – but Calum Scanlon put in a vital block to ensure his team left with a win.
Liverpool U18s: Hewitson, Davidson, Lucky, Samuels, Scanlon, Miles, Pilling, Laffey, Clark, Danns (Young, 63), Roberts.
Unused substitutes: Trueman, Giblin, Gyimah, Pennington, Gift, Ahmed.