NEWCASTLE United suffered penalty heartache against Blackburn Rovers last night as the Magpies’ FA Youth Cup hopes went up in smoke.
Spot-kick misses from young Magpies players Ben Sayer, JJ Hooper and Michael Hoganson made it a cruel night for United.
The Under-18s went into the game bidding to reach the last four for the second time in the last three years after bowing out to Aston Villa in 2010.
Newcastle grabbed the lead on 19 minutes when JJ Hooper crossed from the right and Michael Hoganson applied the finish from close range, stabbing home past Matthew Urwin.
But Rovers equalised on 26 minutes when Raheem Hanley crossed from the right for imposing defender Ryan Edwards, who headed past Alex Baird at Gallowgate.
Blackburn controlled the first half but Newcastle squandered a great opportunity before the break when Marcus Maddison fired over.
However, United did find the net five minutes into the second half. Maddison slotted the ball to Hooper before the big frontman drove it powerfully past Urwin and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Newcastle came close to extending their lead midway through the second half when Knight curled in a free-kick which Urwin had to push over with both hands.
But Rovers refused to roll over, and with 15 minutes left substitute Robbie Cotton struck a 20-yard drive which took a slight deflection to beat Alex Baird and tie things up.
That was enough to force extra-time with the Magpies going beyond the 90-minute mark for the second tie running, having needed the additional period to get past Queens Park Rangers in the last round.
The first period proved to be a scrappy affair. However, Newcastle were indebted to young Australian keeper Baird who rushed out to sweep away the danger after substitute Cotton escaped down the left-hand side.
With tired legs evident on both sides, the second period lacked quality. This was summed up when Hooper picked out Knight but he shot high and wide.
And so to penalties. Sayers saw his effort saved by Urwin before O’Connell converted.
Hooper then blazed over. Brad Mason beat Baird to make it 2-0. Hoganson’s kick was also saved before Cotton sealed a passage into the last four for Rovers.
NEWCASTLE UNITED UNDER-18S: Alex Baird, Alex Nicholson, Remie Streete (c), Louis Storey, Michael Riley, Marcus Maddison (Steven Logan 58, Will Turton 91), Ben Sayer, Brandon Miele, Michael Hoganson, Dennis Knight, JJ Hooper. Subs (not used): Jonathan Mitchell, Jamie Smith, Lee Toland.
BLACKBURN ROVERS UNDER-18S: Matthew Urwin, Peter Wylie, William Beesley (Bradley Mason 78), Reece Hands (Robbie Cotton 72), Ryan Edwards (c), Jack O’Connell, Osayamen Osawe, Raheem Hanley, Curtis Haley (Timothy Payne 116), John O’Sullivan, Hugo Fernandez Molina. Subs (not used): Christopher Dilo, Thomas Paul.
Referee: David Webb Attendance: 2,026