Derby County Under-18s suffered extra-time heartbreak as Cardiff City ran out 3-2 victors in the FA Youth Cup Third Round tie at Pride Park on Friday evening.
James Crole’s goal in the first-half of extra-time secured 3-2 victory for the Bluebirds after the Young Rams had quashed a two-goal first-half deficit.
Taylor Jones had given the visitors a lead in the opening five minutes, before Crole added a second midway through the first half.
Jack Rogers pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, before Ola Ibrahim equalised just before the hour mark.
The game went into extra-time, with Crole’s strike just before the extra-time interval proving to be the decider.
The Young Rams had the worst possible underneath the Pride Park lights, as Jones’ near post run and header from Caleb Hughes’ corner gave the Bluebirds a fifth minute.
Derby looked to respond immediately, as Rogers forced Jamie Cogman into a fine save from a powerful 20-yard effort.
An important block denied Crole his first of the night minutes later, but he made no mistake in the 23rd minute as he finished calmly into Harvey Randle’s corner from Cian Ashford’s through ball as Cardiff attacked through the middle of the Derby defence.
The Rams needed a response going into the break, and they thought they had one in the 43rd minute, but Hugo Jinkinson’s finish from a deep free-kick was ruled out for offside.
After penalty appeals were waved away for a challenge on Kaide Gordon, Derby finally got the reward their pressure warranted.
Gordon was the architect as his through ball carved open the Cardiff defence, and Rogers confidently finished past Cogman to round off a fine Derby move in stoppage time at the end of the first period.
Bartosz Cybulski replaced Seb Thompson at the break and almost made an impact soon after, but Cogman denied his header from Max Bardell’s cross.
In the same attack, the Young Rams levelled the scores. Ibrahim received the ball on the edge of the area, and drilled low past Cogman from the edge of the area to make it 2-2 in the 57th minute.
Derby looked the more likely to find a winner, but the inspired form of Cogman in the Cardiff net saw him deny a string of attempts, most notably efforts by Rogers and Gordon from point-blank range as the game edged closer towards extra-time.
As we moved into the extra 30 minutes, both sides were pushing forwards in search of a winner, but it was the visitors who restored their lead.
Crole pinched possession off the Rams inside their own half, and finished underneath Randle to give the visitors a lead in the 104th minute.
The Young Rams threw everything at it in the closing stages, but Cardiff held on to book their place in the Fourth Round of the competition.
Derby County Under-18s: Randle, Bardell (c), Grewal-Pollard, Perez de Gracia (Sebagabo 77), Solomon, Jinkinson, Gordon, Ibrahim, Thompson (Cybulski 45), Aghatise, Rogers (Moore 105)
Unused substitutes: Roberts, Rutt, Brailsford, Christie.
Cardiff City Under-18s: Cogman, MacNamara (Masrani 73), Davies, Jones, Pritchard (Clay 54), King (c) (Chiabi 107), Thomas, Hughes, Crole, Ashford, Ligendza
Unused substitutes: Stewart, Wigley, Rippen.