Under-18s ready to take centre stage again in FA Youth Cup
The excitement of the FA Youth Cup returns to 1st Cloud Arena on Thursday as South Shields aim to reach the first round.
The young Mariners have been involved in two extremely entertaining ties already in the competition, having beaten Pickering Town 5-1 and Stockton Town 4-3.
Both of those games featured a hat-trick hero, with Olly Cresdee bagging three goals against Pickering and Dan Waldon notching the same amount in the thriller with Stockton.
Academy manager Wess Brown is expecting another difficult test for the Under-18s against York, a side Shields know plenty about.
But he knows that with a strong crowd behind them – 360 fans attended the Stockton tie – anything is possible for Shields.
Brown said: “We played York in a friendly in pre-season so we know quite a lot about them.
“We have a good relationship with them and play them quite a lot, but we’ve prepared in the same way and will play the same way.
“It should be a good game because York are usually a good side.
“We know what they’re all about. They’ll be physical and run hard at us, so we need to be prepared to be patient enough to try to break them down.”
Shields have twice reached the competition proper since the club launched its Academy in the summer of 2017, making it to the second round in 2018-19 and the third round a year later.
If they are to get past York to qualify for the first round, Brown knows the importance of a strong 90-minute performance after the Mariners let a 2-0 lead slip against Stockton before regaining their composure.
He added: “We had mixed emotions. In many ways, we continued where we left off in the previous round and played really well in the first half.
“We controlled the game but everything seemed to go out of the window in the first few minutes of the second half.
“Fair play to Stockton because they came out and had a go at us, which we knew they would, but we let them back into the game.
“We showed good character to get the win in the end, though, and we will need to show similar traits again.”
Supporters are advised that kick-off on Thursday is at 7pm, rather than the previously advertised time of 7.30pm. The turnstiles will open at 5.30pm.
The team and club would hugely appreciate your support and admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.