Reds youngsters late really just not enough
It was a close run thing in the end, with the South Tynesiders just about deserving the narrow victory in a wonderful advertisement for youth football.
Brought together in the Preliminary Round of the FA Youth Cup, Hebburn were in complete control for the best part of an hour but then had to withstand a late Reds’ rally under the Borough Park lights.
And there was almost a dramatic sting in the tale when skipper Joe Hetherington’s thumping header rattled the Hebburn crossbar. Had that gone in, the game would have gone to extra time and who knows what further drama that would have produced.
Hebburn, seeking revenge for a heavy defeat by Reds in the competition three years ago, quickly settled into the game. They were good technically, moved the ball about well and looked an efficient unit. It was no surprise, therefore, when they opened the scoring in the sixteenth minute.
Reds got caught out pushing forward and were short of numbers when Town launched a quick counter attack. David Ousby dealt with the original ball into the box but the rebound fell conveniently to Ethan Donaghy who confidently netted from fifteen yards.
Ousby, in fact, kept Reds in contention, performing well in a busy first half. He made a spectacular save to tip over Will Dixon’s goal bound header, confidently dealt with a Jake Brooman effort and was quickly off his line to thwart the lively Andy Bowie.
Reds were more direct in their approach and the speed of Macauley Sharp caused Town a problem or two. But their only notable effort on target came via Aston Reynolds’ thirty yard free kick, which James Gray pushed away to safety.
The contest seemed to be over two minutes after the restart when Hebburn doubled their lead with a fine goal. Bowie and Donaghy exchanged passes on the edge of the area before the former drove the ball into the net with an explosive finish.
But when all seemed lost, Reds character and determination salvaged some pride.
Will Field’s shot from distance was deflected wide for a corner but, all of sudden, there was a new belief in the young Reds.
Jack Brown came very close to reducing the arrears but a fine effort was cleared off the line by Hebburn skipper, Dylan Rutherford.
And they deservedly pulled one back after seventy four minutes, when Alex Parr (inset) rose highest in a crowded area to power home a header via Brown’s inviting assist. Game on, at last.
FAYC goalscorer - Alex Parr
Sharp created another opportunity for Thomas Houghton but the substitute couldn’t get the ball from under his feet and the gilt-edged chance was gone.
Then, at the end of five added minutes, Field’s measured cross from the left was met by Hetherington but his powerful header thudded against the bar and Hebburn heaved a collective sigh of relief.
Hebburn’s reward is a home tie in the next round when they will meet a second Cumbrian opponent, Carlisle City.
Workington Ousby, Harrison, Hetherington, Demitriou, Wise (Field, 58), Bonney (Lewis, 46), Parr, Brown, Rossi, Sharp, Reynolds (Houghton, 68). Substitute – Denver, Carter (not used).
Hebburn Town Gray, Rutherford, Chalmers, Ross, Hudson, Robertson, Dixon, Thompson (Atkinson, 73), Bowie, Donaghy, Brooman (Stephenson, 82). Substitutes – Scott, Walsh, Mutch (not used).
Referee Scott Henry, Carlisle.
Bookings: Reynolds, Lewis (Workington), Donaghy (Hebburn Town)