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Young Gunner points the way to cup success

After first-leg draw at Blackpool, Arsenal close in on their first FA Youth Cup final appearance since 2009

22 March, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Tyreece John-Jules celebrates scoring the opening goal at Bloomfield Road in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw against Blackpool in the FA Youth Cup. Picture: Arsenal FC

TEENAGE striker Tyreece John-Jules is calling for Arsenal to finish the job at home as the north Londoners look to secure their first appearance in the FA Youth Cup final since 2009.

The 17-year-old scored the opening goal as the Gunners battled out a 2-2 draw with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night.

The last Arsenal side to lift the trophy included the likes of Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin. With the return leg set to take place at the Emirates Stadium on Monday, April 16, John-Jules is urging his team-mates to follow in their footsteps and focus on making the final.

“I thought it was a tough game,” John-Jules told Arsenal.com. “To be fair, Blackpool did well.

“It was a scrappy game but we’ve just got to keep our heads up. It’s all about leaving the past behind and we need to keep going until the end.

“The second leg is at home, so we’ll have a bit of an advantage with a better pitch. It will be a good match. It will be good to see what happens.”

John-Jules opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when he reacted quickest to smash home from inside the six-yard box after Blackpool had failed to clear Xavier Amaechi’s corner.

Reflecting on his goal, the forward said: “I just saw the ball and latched onto it. Luckily it went in, so I’m just happy to score.”

The Seasiders equalised on the stroke of half-time against the run of play when Dylan Sumner coolly slotted home Will Dunne’s far-post header.

The Gunners reestablished their lead on 63 minutes when Vontae Daley-Campbell’s powerful run and cross found an unmarked Amaechi, who finished into the bottom corner.

The Under-18s side should have increased their lead from the penalty spot when substitute Bukayo Saka was felled by Will Avon, but Blackpool goalkeeper Craig Thordarson reacted well to keep out former Gospel Oak schoolboy Trae Coyle from 12 yards.

It proved a costly miss as just a few minutes later Ben Jacobsen scored from close range to earn Blackpool a draw on a night – and keep alive their hopes of causing an upset when the two sides meet again in just over two weeks time.

The winner of that tie will face either Chelsea, who have won the competition in each of the past four years, or Birmingham City in the final.

Arsenal’s Under-18s will be back in action against Leicester City on April 7.


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