FA Youth Cup: Clevedon Town Under-18s face ‘special’ Manchester City tie

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The Clevedon schoolboys facing Man City

“This is a game you are going to remember for the rest of your lives.”

Clevedon Town Under-18s are a team full of students who train for three hours a week and pay £5 each to play.

They were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at the second-round stage by Sutton United.

But, after an unexpected reprieve, they are now finalising preparations for their third-round tie – against Manchester City.

So how much of a gulf is there between the Somerset Floodlight Youth League Premier Division side and the Premier League champions?

Eight tiers of the English football pyramid separate the sides and Clevedon have already been through five rounds to get to this stage.

The visitors, who have reached three of the competition’s past four finals, are expected to field a side full of highly rated youth internationals, while the hosts will be enduring a typical week of studying.

Clevedon striker Ethan Feltham said City might think they can “come and win 17-0” at a side who play in front of as few as 50 people in the league. More than a thousand fans are expected to see them face City.

It is also safe to say their journey to the third round was aided by a little bit of luck.

Town came unstuck in the second round against Sutton United – losing 2-1 – but progressed after their opponents were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player.

Prior to that, they had enjoyed a 4-1 away win at Aldershot in the first round, after overcoming Brockenhurst (8-1), Bridgwater Town (3-0) and Bath City (1-0) in the qualifying rounds.

As a result, Clevedon are facing City at the same stage of the competition at which defending champions Chelsea were beaten by Manchester United on Monday.

“I can’t wait to test myself. It’s going to be brilliant,” Clevedon goalkeeper Sam Blackiston told BBC Points West.

Manager Alex White added: “It’s a special game and it’s a game that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives.

“It’ll be a bit of a shock to the system for [City] compared to the multi-million pound facilities that they’re used to.”

Clevedon's dressing rooms
Clevedon’s dressing rooms differ somewhat to those at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium

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