SHEFFIELD United’s youngsters produced a thoroughly skilful, disciplined and professional performance to stride into the FA Youth Cup Final for the first time in their history, winning the tie 3-0 on aggregate.
Holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg, they competently held off Villa’s attempts to get back in the tie and scored once in each half to deservedly see off last season’s runners-up with something to spare.
But it was a slightly mixed night for skipper Elliott Whitehouse, who scored both United goals but then learned the folly of taking his shirt off after the second one - it earned him the usual booking and when he went into a rash tackle later on, a second booking meant he was sent off and looks likely to miss the first leg of the final.
United played with confidence and skill, right from the back, and an appreciative home crowd of 4,016 were right behind John Pemberton’s side.
They gave Villa little sight of goal and although restricted to two Connor Martin 25 yarders themselves, they got the vital first goal on 45 minutes to double their advantage.
United regained possession after a free-kick was cleared, big central defender Harry Maguire did a fair impression of a left winger before crossing beyond the far post where fellow defender Kennedy nodded back into the danger area and Whitehouse swept it home.
United superbly snuffed out Villa’s second half efforts and killed the tie with 17 minutes left when first leg scorer Joe Ironside bustled through and was brought down by goalkeeper Calum Barrett who was given his marching orders. Whitehouse slotted the spot kick home.
With seven minutes left Whitehouse got his second yellow before a finale which saw Villa’s Samir Carruthers put a penalty over the bar and United’s Martin hit a post.
- UNITED: Long; Montgomery (Pomares 75), Maguire, Kennedy, Barry; Gregory, Harriott, Whitehouse, McFadzean (Anderson 67; Ironside (Wilkinson 85), Martin. Subs: Willis, Ahmadi.
- REFEREE: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear).