Trophy triumph in County Cup for AFC Fylde’s academy

AFC Fylde Under 18s celebrate their final win Credit: George Hodgson

AFC Fylde’s Under-18s made it a weekend to remember for the club yesterday, as they were crowned County Cup champions.

A 3-1 win over Southport in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup Final proved the icing on the cake, after the senior side had booked their place at Wembley in the FA Trophy final the day before.

An early goal from Cameron Hollywood and then one each from Leon Wright and Sheldon Green in the second half ensured the young Coasters lifted the trophy at the County Ground in Leyland.

Manager Chris Ganner was delighted to lead his side to victory, on a weekend that will live long in the memory for the football club.     

The first team left it late to beat Stockport County 3-2 at Edgeley Park in a dramatic FA Trophy semi-final and now face Leyton Orient in the final.

He said: “With the first team getting to Wembley and us winning the final on top of that, we’re over the moon.

“They’re a great group, all first-years bar two of them so probably the youngest team in the competition.

“They’ve done well and I felt over the course of the game, we had more shots on goal, Southport had one other than their goal and our defence stood well today, so yeah I’m really happy.”

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Many proud parents and aspiring youth players from the club turned out in their numbers to watch what was a big occasion for the under-18s.

Ganner hailed the support and said he and his coaching team kept it brief when helping the players to handle the big occasion.

“A lot of our academy lads right the way from under-11s to under-16s came down and supported which is great for them to see where they could potentially progress to,” he said.

“We just said to enjoy it really, have no regrets, and make sure you leave everything on the pitch at the end.”

After Hollywood’s opener, Southport levelled early in the second half before Wright restored Fylde’s lead from the penalty spot.

Forward Green, who was introduced at half time, sealed the deal with a remarkable chipped finish to spark wild celebrations, which earnt the youngster deserved praise.

“It was a very good finish,” said Ganner. “He’ll be interested to see that one back on video with it being such a clever scooped goal.

“He’s done well for us Sheldon; he’s had a few games with the first team this year too.”

Everyone associated with the club will be hoping that isn’t the only piece of silverware heading to Mill Farm this season.