Academy boss pleased with his side's character as they progress in FA Youth Cup
Ricky Duncan praised his side’s character as they progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-2 win against Maidstone United at Roots Hall on Tuesday night.
Duncan’s side led 2-0 early on thanks to a brace from Jason Williams, and while at that stage it may have looked like it would be a comfortable evening for Blues’ youths it was anything but.
Maidstone scored twice in quick succession to go in level at the break, but Williams headed an 80th minute winner to send Duncan’s side into the next round and set up a home tie against Oxford United.
Duncan said: “These boys don’t know how to lose at the moment. They’ve never played under the lights at Roots Hall, any of them, so it was a learning curve.
“We started the game well and got two goals ahead but then we struggled for a while and Maidstone got on top and managed to get themselves level.
“I don’t think we moved the ball as well as we could have done, but Jason popped up with a really good winning goal to send us into the next round.
“I told the boys in the changing room that I’m pleased we’re through, but we will need to be better against Oxford United and I think we will be because they’ve now got that experience here.
“We finished the game with eight first years on the pitch who will be available for us next season. Maidstone were a team full of second years.
“Full credit to Maidstone because they came and gave us a really good game and deserve to be praised for the way they played the game.
“We’re through and into the next round which is the main thing and we can now start looking forward to welcoming Oxford United in the near future.”
With the third-round draw taking place on Friday, and all the big clubs entering at that stage, Duncan is hoping a huge carrot will be dangling ahead of the meeting with Oxford.
He added: “Usually in the FA Cup we’re the underdog, and I prefer it that way, but we weren’t against Maidstone so it was slightly strange.
“Obviously the draw for the next round will have been made before we face Oxford United so both sides will know what could await in the next round.
“It’s nice to have that and I think the boys will rise to the occasion. Whoever it is, we want it to be at Roots Hall, because I really enjoy games here.”