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Pictures - Rugby Town through to FA Youth Cup third round

Victory over Morecambe earns another home tie with Cheltenham Town

Friday, 19th November 2021, 4:23 pm
Updated Friday, 19th November 2021, 5:49 pm

PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY

FA Youth Cup - Second Round Proper: Rugby Town 2 Morecambe 0

Town's excellent run in the country's premier youth football competition continued at Butlin Road crowd on Wednesday evening, with a goal in each half from Kasey Smith and Mason Platts deservedly seeing off their Football League opponents, writes Jon Venner.

Previous victories over Rushall, St.Neots, Solihull and Long Eaton had seen Valley's Under 18's reach this stage of cup for the first time in the club's history, and Liam O'Neill's squad did not let the bumper home crowd down by putting in a skilful and spirited performance.

O'Neill selected the same starting eleven as in the First Round Proper victory at Long Eaton a fortnight previously, and his side had the first opportunity of the game when Platts put his effort over the bar after Rugby had been quick to capitalise on an error by Shrimps keeper Joe Lawton.

Valley more than held their own in the subsequent exchanges, although their keeper Max Harbin was called into action when he comfortably gathered Cameron Rooney's strike from twenty yards.

Joe Taylor's deep cross then nearly caught Lawton out, before the visitors had their best spell of the match with Nathan Mercer, Callum Sandle and Adam Mayor all failing to make the most of half chances, and Connor Pye also flashing a dangerous ball across the front of Town's goal.

Rugby's breakthrough came on 39 minutes though, when Platts pulled the ball back from the left into the path of Smith, who calmly side footed his team into the lead from just inside the box.

The hosts emerged for the second period in even better shape, and Platts was soon causing problems for the Morecambe back-line by going close with his low shot from an angled position.

Lawton was then equal to a decent strike by Leo Stone, before Sam Bodicote put a good chance wide after he done well to create himself space in the box.

Louie Lancaster did lift one over the bar in a rare moment of attacking threat from the visitors, but Town were soon back on the front foot again - with Stone finding the back of the net, only to see it ruled out for a marginal offside decision.

Platt had also been denied by a well-timed tackle from Leyton Carter, before he swivelled on a pass from Stone to outpace his marker and then fire powerfully into the bottom corner for Rugby's vital second of the night.

Even with the onus now firmly on them to get back into the game, Morecambe struggled to find a way through the hosts' resolute defence, and it was in fact Town that looked the more likely to score again.

Stone put his effort from a corner wide and the impressive Platts almost notched again from a tight angle after he had got in behind in the closing stages, but this time he blazed the ball wide of the frame.

This latest victory has earnt Valley's youngsters another home tie against another League One outfit - Cheltenham Town - in the next round of the competition, after the Gloucestershire club saw off Portsmouth in their Second Round tie on Thursday evening.

Rugby line-up: Harbin, Cooper, Taylor, Nicholson, Odwyer (Osayande), Coles, Smith, Bodicote (Wade), Platts, Stone, Scott (Fahey). Subs not used: Harvey, Blair, Pangiotidis, Power

Morecambe line-up: Lawton, Cooper, Pye, Connolly (Koleni) Carter, Lancaster, Rooney, Mercer, Nicholson, Sandle (McKean), Mayor. Subs not used: Pedley, Wright, Foden

Rugby Star Man: Mason Platts

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