Merstham’s youngsters are hoping to follow in the footsteps of their giant-killing seniors at the Ryman League’s Moatsiders on Thursday night by knocking Ebbsfleet out of the FA Youth Cup.
By the strangest of football quirks, the Surrey club’s U18s are hosting their counterparts from the National League South club in the competition’s third qualifying round only days after Merstham knocked Ebbslfeet out of the Emirates FA Cup and were drawn at home to League One Oxford United in the first round proper.
Two of last season’s youth team squad – Dan Hector and Rae Bailey-Allen – have also graduated to Hayden Bird’s first team squad who’ve rewritten the club’s history books in the Emirates FA Cup with their 2-1 weekend win at the Moatside in their first ever appearance in the fourth and final qualifying round.
After seeing their youth stars hammer Leatherhead 7-1 in the first qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup and Lewes 3-0 last time out, officials at Merstham’s academy are backing their latest crop of youngsters to follow suit in the 7pm kick-off.
Academy administrator Martin Burr said: “This is the furthest we have progressed in our entire history and we think we can do it and make more history for the club. We have forty talented boys playing in the Ryman U18s and the Youth Alliance leagues while studying at our new academy and we’re very proud of the progress they’ve made already at a great time for the whole club.”
Merstham celebrated BT Sport choosing to broadcast Monday night’s televised draw for the first round proper from their Weldon Way home by holding an open bar and handing out free drinks to fans until their number was pulled out of the hat.
Admission to Thursday night’s FA Youth Cup clash is £3.