Addicks U18s boss Anthony Hayes has targeted progression to the third round of the FA Youth Cup as a minimum for his group of youngsters following last week’s 5-0 victory over Winslow United in the first round.
Dylan Gavin and Aaron Henry both bagged a brace, adding to Tyreece Campbell’s opener as Charlton swept aside Winslow’s valiant challenge on Wednesday evening and Hayes wants his players to build on that victory as they prepare for Gillingham in round two.
“The aim that we set as a group was to, as a minimum, get to the third round,” he explained.
“Gillingham stand in our way and it’ll be a tough challenge at Priestfield, but it’s another stadium game, hopefully under the lights, which will be something the players will look forward to.
“It’s a prestigious competition and we’ll, hopefully, go as far as we can and replicate some of those memorable nights we’ve had in recent years.”
The first-round success against Winslow was played out in front of what has been a rare sight in football in recent months – a crowd.
Valley Pass subscribers can watch highlights from the win over Winslow in the video below
300 were in attendance for the match, which was brought forward by 24 hours to beat the lockdown, and Hayes insists it added something extra to the experience.
“It certainly added to the challenge!” he said.
“It’s been a strange few months with COVID, so it’s been great that Winslow were able to have the attendance that they got. It adds something to the game and when there is a bit of needle to it, it just adds to the intensity of the game, so it was welcomed.”
“It was difficult conditions on a difficult pitch and then you add an intimidating crowd into the mix,” continued Hayes.
“The first goal settled us and we showed our quality and I was pleased to see that reflected on the scoreboard, but the most important thing is we’re through to the second round.”
Meanwhile, Hayes credited the Addicks’ opponents on the night, who gave a good account of themselves with a battling performance.
“It’s absolute credit to them,” he said.
“They put in a real shift and didn’t lay down after we established a bit of a lead, so that’s credit to them and their staff, who really looked after us. That’s what the FA Youth Cup, particularly in the early rounds give you – that experience of playing in mini stadium environments, under the lights, which is something we’re not used to.
“It was a really good experience and I’m pleased that the lads, after a shakey start, have come through it.”
(Photo: Kyle Andrews)