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City's young guns step into the unknown
11:30am Saturday 26th October 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
MARK Owen has hailed Worcester City academy team’s slice of history in the FA Cup as a “proud achievement”.
The teenagers became the first youth team from the Skrill North club to reach the first round proper following a 1-0 victory over Rugby Town.
Luke Molloy, son of former Worcester utility player Paul, scored the only goal in a match dominated by City.
It has set up a meeting against Halesowen Town at Studley FC, where Worcester play their home matches when floodlights are required, on Wednesday, November 6. There is also the added incentive of a clash against either Oldham Athletic or Sheffield United in the second round.
Academy manager Owen, a former City striker, said: “It was unbelievable. I have been doing the academy for 14 years and the club has been around for more than 100.
“For this squad to be the first to reach the first round proper is a proud achievement for the academy and the individual players.
“We have had teams that have been capable of doing it in the past but have never had the character to turn up on the big occasion and fulfil their ability. But this team turned up and we could have scored a lot more goals, the lads were brilliant.”
The academy, which also sees players study at Worcester College of Technology, have won three matches to reach this stage.
Prior to beating Rugby, they saw off Boldmere St Michael 2-0 with two goals from James Lemon and Ellesmere Rangers 4-2, in which Aston Gunter scored twice alongside strikes from Molloy and Joao Sousa.
So far, their efforts have mirrored that of the senior side, with Carl Heeley’s men taking on Lincoln City at Aggborough today (3pm) with a place in the first round proper also at stake.
But, for the teenagers, Owen is now looking for them to enjoy their moment in the spotlight and to try to continue their success against Halesowen, who play in the Midland Floodlit Youth League Premier Division South.
“It will be another tough game but these lads have made history so there’s no pressure on them,” he said. “They have to relax and the chance to play at a League One ground is all the incentive they need now.”
Away from the cup, the academy are top of English Colleges Football Association West Midlands ‘2C’ with three wins from three having scored 18 goals without reply.
They are also fifth in the Midland Combination Under 21s Division with six wins from nine games.
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