Round Two of the Papa John’s Trophy played out this week, with a place in the Round of 16 up for grabs!
With one tie left to play between Tranmere Rovers and Harrogate Town, 15 teams have already secured passage.
Sutton United going the distance
Sutton United have enjoyed success in the Papa John’s Trophy in their inaugural campaign, establishing themselves as real contenders after finishing top of Southern Group B.
The competition newcomers made it through to the Round of 16, seeing off Stevenage on the way in Round Two, for the first time in the Club’s history. Finishing in a goalless stalemate, Sutton eventually secured passage via a penalty shoot-out as goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis, on as a substitute for the injured Brad House, pulled off three saves from six spot-kicks.
Sweeney’s Pools tenure ends on a high
As one door closes, another one opens at Hartlepool United.
A new era begins this weekend when newly appointed Graeme Lee takes charge of his first game as Pools boss, but interim manager Anthony Sweeney ended his tenure as stand-in boss with a win against Sheffield Wednesday as Hartlepool booked their place in the Round of 16.
The visitors to Hillsborough on Wednesday evening were 3-0 up and cruising within the hour, courtesy of strikes from Mark Shelton, Will Goodwin and a Jaden Brown own goal, as former Pools midfielder Sweeney went out on a high.
Friends reunited in the Lancashire derby
Former Blackpool team-mates Ian Evatt and Stephen Crainey were reunited at the University of Bolton Stadium on Tuesday night when Evatt’s Bolton Wanderers entertained caretaker manager Crainey’s Fleetwood Town in Round Two.
The pair, who spent six years together at Bloomfield Road and won promotion from the Sky Bet Championship with the Tangerines during that time, embraced as they came face-to-face once more, this time in the dugout. But any feelings of friendship were put aside at kick-off, with Kieran Lee’s strike the difference in a 1-0 win for the Trotters to put them in the hat.
Elsewhere, across the M61, Accrington Stanley locked horns with local rivals Wigan Athletic in Round Two, and it was the Latics who ran out 5-4 winners in the penalty shoot-out, after the tie finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Defending champions make their exit
Defending champions Sunderland were ousted from the competition at the hands of Oldham Athletic in Round Two yesterday evening, as Lee Johnson’s side fell foul of a 1-0 defeat on home soil to their Sky Bet League Two opposition.
Meanwhile, last year’s Semi-Finalists Lincoln City were edged out of the Papa John’s Trophy by Carlisle United, with the two teams unable to be separated in normal time, with the Imps eventually losing on penalties at Brunton Park.
And, with Oxford United bowing out at the Group Stage, finishing bottom of Southern Group H, that just leaves last year’s Finalists Tranmere Rovers left from the 2020/21 final four, with the Merseyside team yet to take on Harrogate Town, after the Round Two tie was postponed.
Arsenal turn the tables
Portman Road saw two goals in the space of three minutes as Ipswich Town were dumped from the Papa John’s Trophy last night at the expense of Arsenal Under-21s.
The Tractor Boys were 2-0 up heading into the interval before the young Gunners struck back in the second period to level proceedings. Kane Vincent-Young turned the ball into his own net in the 68th minute to half the deficit and, just three minutes later, Folarin Balogun equalised for the visitors, with Arsenal beating Ipswich on spot-kicks.