Lincoln City

0

Watford

3

Adrian Blake’s second-half double from the penalty spot and Joshua Mullins’ late header secured a 3-0 victory for the Young Hornets in the third round of the FA Youth Cup at the LNER Stadium.

In the opening half, Watford goalkeeper Gabriel Ortelli pulled off an incredible quickfire double save, tipping Tayo Tucker’s curled strike onto the post before making himself big for the rebound, denying the Imps from point-blank range. The shot-stopper’s exploits ensured both teams went into the break goalless.

After the interval, it wouldn’t take long for Watford to take control of the tie as Tobi Adeyemo won a spot-kick which was duly dispatched by Blake. Shots in yellow became more frequent, leading to substitute Aaron Benn winning the second penalty of the match, which was nonchalantly chipped down the middle by Blake for his second.

The final goal came from an impressively-delivered Andres Aguilar corner which met Mullins’ head, sweetly nestling into the back of the net to secure Watford’s passage into the next round where they will face Everton in the New Year.

The first chance of the encounter fell to Julian Donnery, after Lincoln City had intercepted a pass from skipper George Abbott on the halfway line. The counter attack looked promising for the Imps, but from close range the forward fired over.

Sustained Watford possession followed, as Blake had Watford’s opening chance of the game. The winger hit a low-driven shot from the edge of the box which deflected narrowly wide of the mark, although the referee gave a goal kick.

Buoyed by the vacant space, Watford continued to push and forced goalkeeper Isaac Allan into a save with Adeyemo diverting Jack Grieves’ cross towards the Lincoln goalkeeper.

The Young Hornets’ endeavours in attack left them vulnerable in defence, which forced Ortelli into a comfortable stop to deny Donnery’s powerful strike.

The Watford goalkeeper had to remain alert for the following phase of play, as he produced a stunning double stop, deflecting Tucker’s first onto the post before diving at full stretch to maintain his clean sheet.

Following the interval, Watford began proceedings the better team. Grieves almost found the net before an important Lincoln interception diverted the ball wide, although the Young Hornets’ pressure remained as Adeyemo was brought down inside the box.

The resulting spot-kick was confidently taken by Blake, sending the Imps’ goalkeeper the wrong way to open the scoring in the cup tie. Adeyemo almost doubled the lead moments later, but he headed just wide of the mark from close range.

Watford remained resolute in their defending as Mullins, Abbott, Christos Batzelis and Hamzat Balogun harried and dealt with impending attacks from red shirts.

It gave substitute Benn the platform to win the second penalty of the game, which Blake dinked down the middle with impressive composure.

With Watford in the ascendancy they quickly made it three, putting the result beyond doubt, as centre-half Mullins headed Aguilar’s corner past a stranded Lincoln shot-stopper to set up a tie with the blue side of Merseyside, Everton.

Line-Ups

Lincoln City:

Starting XI: Allan (GK), Kabeya, Boffah, Dale (Mussell 80’), Powell, Kamara, Wheatley, Gallagher (C), Adamson (Berko 73’), Donnery, Tucker

Subs not used: Green (GK), Nesbitt, Oliver, Okoro, Wifa

Watford:

Starting XI: Ortelli (GK), Balogun, Batzelis, Davis, Abbott (C), Mullins, Adu-Poku (Benn 72’), Trialist (Aguilar 61’), Adeyemo, Grieves (Taylor 84’), Blake

Subs not used: Browne (GK), Eames, Casey, Sikiru

Goals: Blake (53’, 77’), Mullins (85’)

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