Ironside shines as Lane kids edge Cup first leg

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JOE IRONSIDE’s first half goal has given Sheffield United a hard-earned advantage in their FA Youth Cup semi-final against Aston Villa.

The 17-year-old striker poked home just before half-time as United beat the Premiership outfit in the first leg of the semi-final, played at Villa Park last night.

United, who have reached the last four of the prestigious competition for the first time since 1973, are good value for the lead after more than matching Villa. Jordan Slew and Ironside, again, went close to extending the advantage, whilst the central defensive three of Harry Maguire, Terry Kennedy and Aaron Barry were particularly impressive in keeping the Midlands side at bay.

There was late drama when Villa defender Daniel Devine and United striker Slew were sent off for trading blows but the Blades held on to secure a slender lead for the return fixture. The second leg will be played at Bramall Lane on Wednesday 6 April (7pm kick-off), whilst Manchester United and Chelsea contest the other semi-final.

VILLA: Barratt, Jenkins, Caira, Nelson-Addy (Barton 81), Devine, Williams, Taylor (Robinson 45), Darkin, Drennan (Graham 53), Johnson, Burke. Subs: Coton, Serrano.

UNITED: Long, Montgomery, Anderson (McFadzean 72), Harriott, Maguire, Kennedy, Barry, Whitehouse, Ironside (Martin 79), Slew, Gregory. Subs: Willis, Hinchliffe, Pomares.

GOAL: Ironside (44).