Rugby Town into FA Youth Cup first round proper for only the third time in club's history

Leo Stone hat-trick earns Valley youngsters a trip to Long Eaton

Leo Stone scored a hat-trick to see Rugby Town through to the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup

Rugby Town's young guns fired their way into the First Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup for only the third time in the club's history following their hard fought for 3-1 win over Solihull Moors at Butlin Road last Wednesday evening.

Valley's Youth Team will now travel to fellow UCL Premier level club Long Eaton in the next phase of the country's premier knockout competition for the Under-18 age group, with the tie due to take place during the week commencing November 1st.

A Leo Stone hat-trick ensured Town a First Round berth for the second time in three years, leaving his boss Liam O'Neill to reflect on the team's latest success and gutsy display: "It was always going to be a huge challenge for us against a National League club team, but we prepared really well for the game.

Leo Stone scored a hat-trick to see Rugby Town through to the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup

"Solihull are a good side with some excellent individual talent, but our shape and structure without the ball was generally very good and on the counter I felt with had some good moments too."

Rugby's last outing in the proper stage of the cup saw them travel to then Football League club Grimsby Town's Blundell Park stadium in November 2019, where after putting in an impressive performance they were eliminated 1-0 by the hosts' extra-time winner.

Three of O'Neill's squad that evening - Caine Elliott, Melu Mpande and Josh Thomas - have featured in Town's senior line-up this season, with another - Lewis Padmore - also having been part of fourteen games in a first team shirt in previous campaigns.

Valley's only other appearance in the FA Youth Cup First Round Proper came back in 2003 when they succumbed 2-1 to Mickleover Sports at Butlin Road, with a 70th minute own-goal sealing the fate of the Mick Golding managed side.

Leo Stone scored a hat-trick to see Rugby Town through to the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup