Lincoln 1 Chelsea U21 1 (4-2 on pens)
The Chelsea U21 side were to suffer heartbreak at Sincil Bank last night as they saw their chances of a Wembley appearance, courtesy of the EFL Trophy, vanish in a penalty shoot-out.
In what was an entertaining game, with the youngsters cheered on by a small pocket of travelling Chelsea support, the game remained goal-less until the seventy-second minute when Lincoln City took the lead through Luke Waterfall, who netted with a header.
But the youngsters, who used their superior skills to combat a far more physical Lincoln side battled back and in the seventy-eighth minute drew level when Daishwan Redan equalised, gleefully smashing the ball home from around ten yards out.
With the game to be decided by a penalty shoot-out and with the ABBA rule in place, Chelsea looked primed to become the first Development side to reach the final when the Lincoln left-back Sam Habergham saw the first spot-kick rebound to safety after hitting the bar.
But fate was to deal Chelsea a cruel hand with Ethan Ampadu seeing his penalty hit the post and then Jacob Maddox suffering the frustration of seeing his effort saved.
When Lee Frecklington strode up to take his spot-kick for Lincoln, the midfielder knew if he scored his club would grace a Wembley final for the first time in their 133-year- history.
Frecklington promptly scored and the jubilant home crowd invaded the pitch in celebration.
For the youngsters, it was a case of having got so near and then falling at the cruellest hurdle of all, but like they say - what doesn`t break you will make you.
Perhaps next year will be their year.