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Youth Team Fire Into Final

Coventry City are in their second FA Youth Cup Final in successive years after producing a quality performance to beat Southampton in last night's semi-final away leg.

The odds appeared to be stacked against them when Southampton held them to a 1-1 first leg draw at Highfield Road. But Jason Ashby gave Coventry a second minute lead at The Dell and the defence performed heroically in the second half to clinch the victory.

A big crowd is now expected at Highfield Road for the first leg of the Cup Final against Arsenal or Middlesbrough on Thursday 4 May. The match will be screened on Sky TV and will kick off at 8.05 pm. The away leg will be played eight days later and will also be screened live on Sky.

Coventry's manager Gordon Strachan said:

"I am not bothered who we play. These lads are capable of beating any team."

The club is hoping for a better result in this final.  Last season their very young side ran up against a particularly impressive West Ham United team which beat them 9-0 over the two legs.

Strachan admitted:

"That result was a body blow to our players, the coaches and to me as manager.

“It reflects great credit on the coaches and the players that they have shown the mental strength to bounce back from a result like that to reach the final again."

It is a remarkable achievement for Coventry in the two years since the Premier League soccer academies came into being.

The club is hoping that its continued success at this level will attract even better young players to generate more and more home-bred talent to climb through the ranks to first team level.

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'Coventry City - the Elite Era' by Jim Brown

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 11 Apr 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM