Accrington Stanley Youth were left heartbroken by an extra time defeat at home to Crystal Palace in the FA Youth Cup.
Substitute Levi Lumeka scored the winner in the first half of the additional half hour and booked the Premier League outfit’s place in the fourth round of the competition.
A valiant comeback in the second half with goals from Nathan Webb and Stuart Callaway gave the side great hope of a cup upset after Palace took a two goal lead in the opening 45 minutes.
The visitors will now play Aston Villa in the next round.
Palace got off to the perfect start with an opener inside the first ten minutes.
Aaron Bissaka found space to put in a low cross from the left hand side before Corie Andrews broke free of his marker to power home for the breakthrough.
The visitors continued to show their Premier League qualities and created a number of chances throughout the half.
Midfielder Andre Coker took range from 25 yards out after a well practiced free kick routine, but Stanley goalkeeper Christian Evans did well to hold the shot on a slippery surface.
Paul Lodge’s boys waited patiently to stamp their mark on the game. Stanley kept their discipline behind the ball and tried not to let the visitors settle on the ball.
Defender Ross Sykes had a good opportunity to bring the home side back level with a free header at the far post from Reuban Dass’ corner, but the centre-half could head his effort wide.
As half time approached, Palace doubled their lead through Luke Dreher. The ball landed kindly for the midfielder as he broke into the box in acres of space after Andrews’ strike was parried into his path by goalkeeper Evans.
The home side found a new lease of life after the break and applied plenty of pressure on the Palace defense.
Stuart Callaway was moved into a deeper position, following the half time introduction of Harry Blackburn and the attacker forced visiting ‘keeper Oliver Pain into a fantastic diving save with his piledriver from outside the area looking destined for the bottom corner.
Minutes later, Nathan Webb halved the deficit from the penalty spot and gave Accrington a chance of a comeback.
The striker stepped up and calmly placed his sixth goal in this seasons FA Youth Cup into the corner to give the home side a lifeline.
Stanley pushed for an equaliser and were on the front foot for the majority of the second half.
Their efforts were rewarded with just 15 minutes remaining of normal time thanks to a thunderbolt from Callaway.
The attacker brushed past a couple of challenges on the edge of the box and gave Pain no chance in the Palace goal as his shot flew into the bottom corner.
A late chance by Webb came inches from scoring the winner as his curling effort sailed just past the top corner.
Both sides found it difficult to find a clear opportunity to win the match in extra time, but it it was Palace who capitalised on a chance to progress through to the next round of the competition.
A goalmouth scramble resulted with the ball landing at Levi Lumeka’s feet and the substitute scored what proved to be the winning goal.