The young Wanderers have already matched the club’s previous best in the competition by reaching round two. The class of 23/24 will be looking to go one step further than the side which lost 0-2 to Colchester United at Meadowbank at the same stage in 20/21, current Wanderers first team players Ollie Allen and Cameron Black part of the side defeated by The U’s despite a valiant effort on the night.
Led by the B team management team of manager Ruben Gaspar, assistant Jack Clemence and head coach Sam Cave, this year’s journey in the FA Youth Cup has been accompanied by plenty of late drama in each round so far.
Forward Luke Bejashvili scored and set up an own goal late in the day as Wanderers came from behind to see off Cobham 1-2 to progress to the 2nd qualifying round, setting up an away tie with Welling United. All square at 1-1 after 90 minutes at Park View Road, an enthralling penalty shoot-out followed which saw defender Luca Fulco don the keeper’s jersey and gloves after Harry Charlesworth sustained an injury late in the game. It became a fairy-tale ending as Fulco managed to save a spot kick in sudden death before left side defender Hayden Gale, making his first start since February after recovering from an ankle injury, stepped up to drive home the match winning spot-kick, Wanderers going through 7-8 on penalties.
Back on home soil for the first round proper, Worthing FC were the visitors to Meadowbank at the beginning of this month. With very little separating the sides through much of the contest, the side from West Sussex got in front with just a few minutes to spare, but Wanderers restored parity swiftly as defender Luc Cowing headed home from close range. Deep into added on time, second half sub Sonny Albert became the hero, the attacking midfielder dribbling into the box from the left and keeping his composure to nutmeg the Worthing keeper with a cool finish, booking Wanderers place in the second round as a crowd of over 250 watched on.
Entering directly at the first round stage, Cheltenham overcame Bristol Rovers 1-2 to set up this evening’s tie. An away trip to Sheffield United will await the winner in round three.
Tickets for tonight’s game are priced at £5 Adults and £2 U16s and can be booked online now.