Late heartbreak for Blues youngsters in Charlton.BCFC
Blues had rallied well late-on, Kieran Wakefield scoring twice in five second-half minutes as extra-time beckoned.
But the Addicks hit Blues on the break with full-time just seconds away and they’ll now face Wigan Athletic in this year’s final.
The home side opened the scoring through Aaron Henry, who lashed home a low effort from 25 yards inside ten minutes.
The Addicks doubled their lead in the second half, Burstow tapping home his first at the back post after a quick breakaway.
Blues gave themselves hope on 84 minutes when Kieran Wakefield picked himself up after being fouled to slot home from the spot, before adding his second five minutes later. But Burstow’s late winner struck a killer blow to the battling Blues, who headed back to the second city empty-handed.
Martyn Olorenshaw elected to make just the one change from the side that dispatched Swansea City in their final league game, George Hall replacing Harry Manton.
Playing at the Valley, a young Blues side began extremely brightly, first having a penalty appeal waved away by the referee before Rico Patterson’s strike deflected wide for a corner.
But the Addicks rallied and after just four minutes, had a golden opportunity to open the scoring. After good defensive work by Marcel Oakley, a left-wing corner was hung up a the back post which was nodded goalbound only to be cleared off the line by a backpedalling Rico Brown.
The conditions quickly took a turn for the worse and a torrential downpour swept across the Valley – which aided the game’s opening goal.
A lofted ball was played forward and taken well by Tyreece Campbell on the edge of the box. Moving the ball from under his feet, the 18-year-old squared it to Aaron Henry who lashed home a low effort from 25 yards – a strike that was certainly aided by the increasingly sodden pitch.
The home side continued to grow in confidence before Blues created their best opportunity of the game. Marcel Oakley did well to win a 50/50 in midfield before Jobe Bellingham unleashed Rico Patterson down the left-flank. The forward did everything right - skipping past three Charlton defenders before firing a low effort straight at James Beadle, with just the keeper to beat.
Blues had weathered the Charlton storm and as the weather began to clear, looked increasingly settled as the half went on, despite the home side enjoying the bulk of possession.
On the half-hour mark, a lovely interchange between Bellingham and full-back Tom Fogarty was played down the right, before the defender whipped in a dangerous-looking cross. Advancing was Jordan James, who tried to place his effort at the back-post but instead fired wide.
Kieran Wakefield was next to test the home goalkeeper after being played in by Rico Patterson but Beadle was quickly off his line to smother his right-footed effort.
Charlton could’ve added a second shortly before half-time when Mason Burstow miscued his volley on the penalty-spot after good work down the flank.
Half-time: Charlton Under-18s 1 Blues Under-18s 0
Just as they did in the first-half, Blues began well. George Hall threatened the Charlton box with a jinking run just moments after the restart before Rico Patterson elected to not pull the trigger when slotted in shortly after.
Blues began to see more and more of the ball but chances were at more of a premium early-on in the second forty-five, as both teams began to tire.
Callum Sullivan was booked for a late tackle on Henry with twenty minutes to play, before the Addicks broke away for their second.
A lovely move down the right saw Jason Adigun drive at the Blues defence before playing a pass with the outside of his right foot to the back post, where the advancing Burstow was on-hand to slot home.
Blues’s endeavour never faltered and they got the goal they deserved six minutes from time. A lovely move saw interchange between Patterson and substitute Dos Reis, before the Spaniard back-heeled the ball to Wakefield who was fouled as he rushed in on goal.
But there was late drama to come. A buoyant Blues were smelling blood and when George Hall broke down the left with one minute left on the clock, he picked out a perfect pass to find Wakefield, who slotted home from five yards out.
After hauling themselves back into the game, Charlton themselves battled back and in the 93rd minute, scored a late, late winner.
On the breakaway, Burstow grabbed his second, rounding Brad Mayo to inflict a harsh defeat on Olorenshaw and his players, who’d fought so hard to battle back late on.
Full-time: Charlton Under-18s 3 Blues Under-18s 2
Blues: Mayo, Fogarty, Barratt (Dos Reis, 74), Oakley, Browne, Sullivan, Bellingham, Hall, Wakefield ©, James, Patterson
Subs not used: Brooks, Manton, Khela, Nguepissi.
Charlton Athletic: Beadle, Barker, Garande (Asiimwe, 44), Henry, Bakrin, Elerewe, Adigun, Santos (Mitchell, 45), Burstow, Campbell (Ladapo, 85), Viggars.
Subs not used: Whitling, Mitchell, Leaburn.
Goals: Henry, 9. Burstow, 71, 91. Wakefield, 84, 89.
Yellow Cards: Barker, 34. Adigun, 67. Sullivan, 70.