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Report: Tranmere 3-0 Durham City (FA Youth Cup)

Posted: Thu 06 Oct 2016
Author: Sam Robinson

Devine penalty and Akpan brace put young Rovers into next round

Tranmere Rovers advanced to the next round of the FA Youth Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Durham City in the Second Qualifying Round at Prenton Park.
Ethan Devine opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Udoyen Akpan was fouled by visiting goalkeeper Kieran Stoker.
Akpan then took centre stage, bagging a brace to ensure progress in the competition for Andy Parkinson's side.
It may have been a very different night had Craig Burdis not hit the post for the visitors from a free-kick which was allowed to travel all the way to the back post.
Home captain Tom Croughan responded for the Whites, cutting in from the left wing and firing narrowly over the bar.
Tranmere were seizing control and were given the perfect opportunity to hit the front when Akpan's pace saw him reach a hopeful ball over the top before the goalkeeper, who could only foul the striker with referee Neil Evans showing no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
Ethan Devine took responsibility for the spot-kick, sending Stoker the wrong way.
The midfielder almost doubled his tally but curled wide after being set up by Croughan.
Stoker was the busier of the two goalkeepers, showing great athleticism to fling himself across his goal and palm Akpan's powerful away from danger.
There was nothing he could do the next time he duelled with the striker as Akpan again raced onto a ball over the defence and lobbed the goalkeeper with an expert finish to double the lead.
Winger Jamie Heron shot off-target from range and Callum Lucy lashed wide from a short corner routine as Tranmere looked to put the game beyond the Citizens.
Croughan had a moment to forget on the half-hour mark, hitting the bar from 2 yards out after a shot from Akpan was parried into his path.
Lucy fired into the midriff of Stoker from 20 yards and Akpan turned a Croughan cross over the top as Rovers took a 2-0 lead into the break.
Trent McMenam sent a warning shot at the start of the second half but neither Dan Maddison nor Jayden Redman could make contact as the ball flew across the penalty area.
Heron had an effort tipped over the bar by Stoker before firing wide as the familiar pattern from the first half began to materialise in the second.
The game was made safe shortly before the hour by Akpan, who collected a clipped Croughan pass and slammed in his second of the evening from 14 yards with a powerful finish.
Heron was determined to get himself on the scoresheet but it seemed like Stoker was determined to keep him off it as the stopper pulled out a stunning save to divert a curling shot round the post from the winger.
Durham could have given themselves hope but Redman blazed over from six yards with the goal gaping.
A flowing Tranmere move ended with Lucy sidefooting weakly at the goalkeeper and James Devine saw a header palmed over the top by Stoker.
Dan Mitchell could only find the stand with a free-kick for Durham whilst Nathan Gill was alert at the other end to hack away a dangerous cross from Ethan Devine.
Substitute Jack Fleming saw a shot deflect onto the roof of the net before Akpan inadvertently blocked a stinging drive from his strike-partner.
Despite positive build-up play there was no opportunity for Akpan to grab himself a hat-trick but it was still a good night of work for the attacker and the team as they moved into the Third Qualifying Round.

Tranmere: Wharton; Solomon-Davies (Galloway, 65), J Devine, Drysdale, Clarke; Heron, Lucy, E Devine (Fleming, 85), Medlan; Akpan, Croughan (Brett, 69).
Subs not used: Passant, Molyneux.