Accrington Stanley Under 18s FA Youth Cup campaign came to an end in the Second Round as they were beaten 3-2 by Coventry City, despite an outstanding second-half performance.
Morgan Crowther’s hat-trick decided the tie on an evening that Paul Lodge’s side were dominant for long periods at the Wham Stadium.
Crowther struck twice in the first-half before Joel Mills burst the game into life early in the second period.
The Coventry front-man looked to have put the tie to bed with his third, before Watson set-up a frantic finish in the 85th minute – but it wasn’t to be for the young Reds.
Coventry took an early lead in fortuitous fashion when a Stanley clearance hit forward Crowther and deflected beyond helpless goalkeeper Nathan Wolland, rolling into his bottom corner.
The Sky Blues should have doubled their lead on the 15-minute-mark as Luke Rowe split the Stanley defence in half with a low ball that found Blaine Rowe but he drilled his effort inches wide.
11 minutes later, after a prolonged-spell of Accrington pressure, the away side doubled their advantage, Crowther reacting fastest inside the area to stab home Rowe’s cross and score his second of the evening.
But two minutes into the second period, Stanley found their way back into the cup tie as Niall Watson seized on a poor clearance by the Coventry keeper, advancing into the box before squaring a ball to Joel Mills to bundle home and half the deficit.
The young-Reds were like a different team in the second period and Watson twice came close to firing his side level before the hour-mark – but 15 minutes from time Crowther rose high inside the area to power home his hat-trick with a header and restore Coventry’s two-goal lead.
Watson finally got his reward for his hardwork five minutes from time to make it 2-3, as Stanley set up a grandstand finish at the Wham Stadium. But they couldn’t find the goal that would take it to extra-time, as Coventry progress.