Hull City 3 Leicester 1: Tigers in FA Youth Cup quarter-finals
SUPER-sub Harry Cardwell was Hull City's hero once again as Billy Russell's side held their nerve to book their place in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals with a dramatic 3-1 win over Leicester City last night.
A tense encounter appeared destined for a penalty shoot-out when City striker Danny Chambers cancelled out Rob Paratore's close-range finish for the only goals of normal time.
But inside the final five minutes of extra-time there was still the opportunity for Cardwell to dispatch a clinical double and ensure the Tigers advance to the final eight for the first time since 1991.
Cardwell is proving to be City's FA Youth Cup lucky charm.
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After coming off the bench to seal an extra-time win over Swansea in the third round, the rookie's magnificent pair at the death has now earned a mouth-watering quarter-final against either Leeds United or Liverpool.
City's opponents will be decided this evening but a tie at the KC Stadium is already guaranteed for the first time in six years as the Tigers advanced to waters unchartered for 22 years.
It ended in high drama and began in a similar vein.
The excitement was quick to unfold as the fifth round tie lived up to its billing inside a breathless opening.
Leicester needed just six minutes to open the scoring as an uncharacteristic mistake from Joe Cracknell gifted the visitors an advantage.
A right-wing cross from Simonas Stankevicius appeared to offer the City goalkeeper a routine collection, but when he spilled on to his near post, Paratore was on hand to poach the simplest of chances.
If Cracknell feared his error would be costly, Chambers needed less than a minute to spare his team-mates blushes.
Just as Leicester's goal had owed much to good fortune, the luck was instantly levelled out.
Chambers shot from 20 yards took a wicked deflection and looped over the helpless Josh Smith for parity.
Both sides belatedly took the opportunity to feel one another out and the Tigers were asked to deal with a robust approach from their physically equipped guests.
A central defensive partnership of Max Clark and Ben Clappison, instrumental in City's fourth round win at Northampton five weeks earlier, were again solid and laid the foundations for Russell's side to create the first half's best two chances.
A sweeping move down field ended with Eoghan McCawl presented with a shooting opportunity 18 yards out, but the Irishman dragged frustratingly wide.
The same fate befell right-back Sam Topliss close to the half-hour mark.
The fearless Tom Davie's raking ball across the pitch set Topliss galloping clear and although the right-back was too quick for Eddy Samba, he failed to hit the target when well placed and aiming for the far corner.
City had the ball in the net for a second time in the final minute of the first half. Captain Matt Dixon hooked a clever finish over Smith but his position inside the area was correctly adjudged offside.
As the stakes grew after the interval, the quality on show from both sides suffered.
A scrappy encounter demanded heart ahead of finesse and, as a result, clear-cut chances diminished.
Cracknell had to be alert to touch over Jack McCourt's deep free-kick as Leicester pushed unconvincingly for a winner, while City's dangers came primarily from corner kicks.
From such a source the advanced Clappison twice came close. One header was sent over after Dixon kept the ball alive and while Smith appeared uncomfortable coming for high balls, he pulled off an outstanding save to deny Clappison from point-blank range.
The pendulum swung back towards Leicester for the closing stages and Stankevicius almost won it with a purposeful run and shot at Cracknell.
There was still time for substitute Sam O'Connor to come close for City but a superb covering tackle from Callum Elder denied the Tigers a dramatic triumph.
There was no avoiding extra-time and a further 30 minutes begged for a hero.
That mantle looked destined for Leicester frontman Harry Panayiotou when a sweet cross undid City's defence but the header fizzed inches over the bar.
Instead the honour belonged to Cardwell.
With just five minutes of extra-time remaining he latched on to O'Connor's pass and finished with aplomb past Smith to cue wild celebrations.
There was still time for him to bag a second with an even finer finish high into the top corner, confirming a big night out at the KC Stadium next month.