Stevenage Under-18s booked an FA Youth Cup third round date with Spurs after a dominant display and a 2-0 win over Charlton at The Lamex Stadium.
Speaking after the game, Academy Manager Robbie O’Keefe told us, “I thought we were excellent from start to finish. I really felt a lot of players grew up tonight. They just stuck to a game plan for 90 minutes, which is quite rare at this level because they’re so young and inexperienced, but I’m really proud of them.
“Our keeper’s made a couple of saves but you’d expect them to have a couple of shots. I think we had the majority of the game and I’m really pleased. Everything we’d planned came together which is an absolute rarity. I said before we needed a monumental effort to win the game and that’s what we got.
“The one thing I’ve always been consistent in what I say about this team is that they’ve always got goals in them. That’s been proven again tonight and on many other occasions we were a final ball just short of getting more.”
Captain Zak Guerfi said plenty of pre-match preparation helped his side's performance tonight. “It feels great to win, a feeling you can’t describe," he told us. "We did so much work on this game beforehand and we knew coming into it that if we stuck to our plan, we’d get them. Thankfully second half, all our hard work in training – and credit to the coaches who put in hours of work too – has paid off.
"Coming up against a Category 2 side, you’re always the underdog. We’ve gone in there and showed how good this team is and where this team can go, so we can go confidently into the next round."
Round Three of this year's competition will see Stevenage face Spurs Under-18s and Zak was particularly pleased with that draw.
“We didn’t really talk about Spurs as we knew we had to get through this round, but it’s massive for me. I’ve been at this club since I was 12 years old and now we’ll be playing the team I’ve grown up supporting.”
Mickey Cregan found the back of the net to score Boro’s second against Charlton, making it eight goals in the last eight Under-18 games for the Irishman.
“It took me a good year to settle in," he explained, "but I’ve stuck with it and have finally found form, so hopefully the goals keep coming. People have doubted me throughout my career because of my height but a couple of managers now have said I’m a poacher so that’s what I like to do.
“Charlton were a good team tonight but I think they doubted us to be fair. For the first 15 minutes they just kept arguing with each other and it seemed like they were rocked. Obviously we did lots of pre-match preparation and that paid off.”
Details of the FA Youth Cup third round fixture against Spurs will be released in due course.