Spurs U18s 4 Bradford City U18s 2
Lee Barnard struck twice to book Spurs place in the fourth round of youth football’s most prestigious cup competition.
Barnard’s double completely changed the complexion of Tuesday’s tie at the Lane after the Yorkshire outfit, a real handful, made a storming start and led 2-1 at the interval.
Andrew Burke’s solo effort then capped a superb second half display on the main stage.
Spurs had to overcome a difficult start. With just three minutes on the clock John Sutton went down with a nasty looking ankle injury — he recovered — and as play broke to the other end goalkeeper Robert Burch was forced into a fine one-on-one save as James Rutherford broke into the area.
The opening goal was just around the corner though. Only six minutes had gone when Adam Hardy picked up the ball 40 yards out, carried forward a few paces and let fly. The shot clearly deceived Burch in the air and dipped just under the bar.
Bantams started brighter and almost added to their lead when Ben Jones burst between Paul O’Donoghue and James Quilter only to slide his chance wide from a tight angle.
After an inauspicious start Spurs hit back with a vengeance. Jon Jonsson levelled after 18 minutes when Ben Bowditch won a 50-50 challenge on the edge of the area and Jonsson wasted little time in driving home into the bottom corner.
George Snee volleyed high and wide after trickery from Burke down the left flank, left-back Chris Herron’s cross landed on the roof of the net on the half-hour and a minute later right back Stephen Kelly’s 30-yarder was inches wide.
Typically, City struck as Spurs were getting on top. The visitors broke down the right flank, Rutherford cut inside O’Donoghue and Jones made no mistake from his cutback despite the efforts of Burch.
The second half belonged to Barnard. With 56 minutes gone he was inches away from Jonsson’s cross but his luck soon changed. Sutton broke into the area on the hour and the ball broke loose to the young striker. His first attempt was well blocked by Jon Warsnop in the City goal but Barnard made no mistake from the rebound to level the scores.
Just two minutes later and a textbook strike. This time Herron broke down the left and his deep centre was headed into the bottom corner by Barnard.
Burke then capped it with a goal worthy of any cup tie. He picked the ball up 25 yards out, skipped past three defenders with a dropped shoulder before crashing the ball home off the underside of the crossbar from 15 yards.
The home side dictated the pace of the game from there although Burch produced the save of the night to tip the impressive Hardy’s 25-yarder in the final minute. Barnard was inches was from his hat-trick in injury time, heading Snee’s header just wide, but the damage had been done.
Spurs U18s: Burch, Kelly, Herron, Bowditch, Quilter, O’Donoghue, Snee, Jonsson, Sutton, Barnard, Burke (McKie 88).
Bradford City U18s: Worsnop, Tyson, Lo Piccolo (McGahey 72), Dufton, Bolton, Emanuel, Hardy, Fishlock, Jones, Rutherford (Forrest 66), Brodie.