Double joy for youngsters

Frank Nouble's England are through to the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals following a dramatic 1-1 draw with France.

Going into the final five minutes of their clash with the host nation in Saint-Lo on Saturday evening, the odds were stacked against the Young Lions.

Not only were England trailing Yannis Tafer's 56th-minute goal, but they also needed Austria to score a later winner against Netherlands to give them any chance of progressing to the last four.

Amazingly, Austria went ahead through Marco Djuricin's 87th-minute strike before England substitute Matthew Phillips completed an unbelievable turnaround by scoring an equaliser three minutes into added time.

All that means 18-year-old Nouble and his team-mates face a semi-final showdown with Spain on Tuesday.

Closer to home, there was also drama at Roots Hall as West Ham's United's youth team defeated hosts Southend United on penalties to reach the final of a four-team tournament.

Goalkeeper David Wootton, a first-year scholar, was the hero of the hour, saving two spot-kicks as the Hammers secured a 4-3 shootout victory following an eventful goalless draw.

Both teams had several chances to score in normal play, with the Hammers ironically missing a penalty in normal time.

Matthias Fanimo was upended by the Blues keeper inside the box following a great through ball from Robert Hall, only for Blair Turgott's spot-kick to hit the woodwork and bounce clear.

Hall was lively throughout and saw a dipping shot go just wide of the left-hand post, while Fanimo had a similar effort also go wide in the final minutes.

Into the shootout and Southend looked to have the advantage when James Stevens, Ryan Auger and Dugi Ogbonna all scored from the spot before Paco Craig saw his shot saved.

Wootton then took centre-stage, saving the next two Blues penalties before Dominic Vose scored to send the Hammers through.

The success set up a final meeting with Arsenal, who defeated Dutch side FC Twente in the other semi-final, on Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm.

Southend and FC Twente will contest the third-place play-off earlier in the day, with kick-off at 11.30.

If supporters have not already purchased tickets for both days, tickets for Sunday are priced at £10 adults, £5 concessions and £1 children. Call the Blues Box Office on 08444 77 00 77 for more details.