Premier League Reds end young Blues' proud cup run
Two second-half goals saw Liverpool U18s come from behind to knock Town out of the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup.
Edwin Agbaje headed in at the end of first half stoppage time to put Adem Atay's side in front but strikes from Matuesz Musialowski and Melkamu Frauendorf saw the Reds edge the tie.
With Paul Cook amongst the first-team staff watching from the stands, the young Blues put in another spirited performance against another category one academy and Premier League opponent.
Liverpool had the first effort on goal at the end of a tight opening 10 minutes, left-back James Norris shooting straight at Lewis Ridd from inside the box.
The Town 'keeper was called into action a few minutes later; collecting Dom Corness' low shot from distance at the second attempt with Max Woltman ready to pounce.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s visitors continued to enjoy plenty of possession as Liam Gibbs produced a crucial block to stop his opposite number, James Balagizi, from finishing from 12 yards.
Musialowski was the next to be denied by Ridd, diving to his right to tip his low drive around the post.
Blues had their best spell of the game midway through the half, with Gibbs and Cameron Humphreys seeing shots blocked by Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley in quick succession.
That midfield duo combined to create another chance moments later but Nico Valentine couldn’t get the desired connection on his attempted shot after their corner routine had fallen into his path.
Ridd pulled off his best save yet with five minutes to go until the break, diving to his right to palm away Musialowski’s shot after Woltman had flicked Corness’ driven cross into his path.
The young Blues moved in front with seconds remaining of the opening period. Humphreys found the overlapping Gibbs before the midfielder’s dinked cross was met by Agbaje at the back post - the full-back’s header being palmed onto the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net by Harvey Davies.
Liverpool wasted two golden chances to find an equaliser early in the second period. First, Woltman blasted over when one-on-one with Ridd before Bradley also shot over the bar after Norris' lay-off had fallen into his path.
Blues could have doubled their lead just before the hour mark after Humphreys' cross went all the way across the box to Valentine but the latter couldn't direct his shot on target.
The Reds' strong start to the second period told on 63 minutes as Musialowski's left-footed shot from the edge of the box deflected past a wrong-footed Ridd in the Town goal for the leveller.
Town continued to show the spirit and character that they had demonstrated throughout the competition and nearly retook the lead as Gibbs' powerful low cross was cleared by Quansah from the six-yard box before Blues could provide the finishing touch.
Liverpool turned the tie on its head with nine minutes remaining; substitute Frauendorf coming off the bench to fire into the back of the net from inside the box.
The visitors could have added to their advantage twice in the closing stages with Town pushing for an equaliser but Woltman shot wide of the mark before Frauendorf was denied his second by a strong save from Ridd down to his left-hand side.
Booked: Cutbush, Gibbs.
Town: Ridd, Agbaje (Manly 83), Alexander (C), Stewart, Baggott, Armin, Valentine, Cutbush (Bello 64), Buabo (Chirewa 83), Gibbs, Humphreys.
Subs: Catley, Bradshaw, Nwabueze, Boatswan.
Liverpool: Davies, Bradley, Norris, Quansah (C), Koumetio, Stephenson, Corness, Morton, Woltman, Balagizi, Musialowski (Frauendorf 79).
Subs: Mrozek, Jonas, Wilson, Chambers, Mabaya, Bajcetic.
Tonight's tie was sponsored by Magnus Group.
Town U18s are sponsored by Britton Group.