Academy Manager Paul Lodge was thrilled with Stanley’s youngsters after progressing to the FA Youth Cup third round following a 2-1 win over Fleetwood Town.

14 paul lodge webThe victory for the U18s sets up a mouth-watering tie with Premier League side Crystal Palace at the Wham Stadium over the coming weeks.

Nathan Webb’s first half brace guided the side to the next round and also completed a great comeback after going behind inside the opening five minutes.

“I’m absolutely delighted. Fleetwood knocked us out of the competition this time last season and beat us in the league a month ago.

“We were unfortunate to go behind early on but, as I’ve said to the lads, I don’t care how they win, particularly in cup competitions.

“We’ve always known that this is a team with good character and the defensive unit put a great shift in tonight and were outstanding.

“Attacking-wise we might have been a little fortunate to get our goals, but you’ve got to be in those situations to score them.”

Webb’s hat trick was also the difference in the previous round against Basford United and the 17-year-old’s double against Fleetwood takes his tally to five in the competition.

“We said before the game that he is in on fire at the moment. He scored a goal at Burnley in a league match recently as well so he’s scored six or seven goals in his last six games.

“As a team, we rely on his goals quite a lot. He’s got experience in this competition already, has always seemed to do well on the big occasions and he didn’t disappoint again.”

The Academy Manager was also full of praise for goalkeeper Jack Little, who was in excellent form on the night.

“He hasn’t played a lot recently and he made a fabulous save in the middle of the second half, which has probably kept us in control because they were pushing for a goal at that stage.

“A performance like that gives the rest of the back four a massive confidence boost. He’s only a first year and we will be working with him for another 18 months or so.

“We see great potential in him and his saves on the night showed that.”