FOOTBALL: THE FUTURE of Coventry City looks bright after the club’s under-18s provided some joy in what has been a dismal season by progressing through to the National Final.
Just one defeat in their final 17 games of the regular season saw the Sky Blues crowned champions of the Premier Development League Southern Division for the first time in the club’s history.
Their reward was a play-off semi-final clash against Sheffield Wednesday at the Alan Higgs Centre on Saturday, and in front of a crowd of around 500 people, Jason Farndon’s side eased their way to a 3-1 victory.
The home side were three goals in front by half-time with Billy Steadman scoring the opener with a close range effort on seven minutes before Kyle Finn scored the pick of the bunch with a 20-yard curling shot on 16 minutes.
In-form striker Jordan Ponticelli scored a third shortly before the break when he got in front of his marker to head home into the corner of the net.
Wednesday had finished runner-ups in the Premier Development League North Division and they pulled a goal back 12 minutes from time through Konrad Scuza, but it proved to be little more than a consolation.
“The players put a lot into the first half and after the break we still felt as though we controlled the game,” said Academy manager Rich Stevens.
“Sheffield Wednesday got a late goal but given the game they couldn’t really get against us and we weathered the storm.
“There are 20 other Category 2 status clubs and after a long league programme for us to be in the top two teams is fantastic for the boys and they have deserved it.
“The staff have prepared the players unbelievably each week. They keep the players fit, have knowledge of how they are developing and educate them too – I don’t think the coaching has ever been as good during my time here.
“This team doesn’t know when they are beaten. They pass the ball well, create chances and are resilient. They deserve to be where they are.”
Coventry City’s under-18s will now face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on May 10 (7pm) in the final.
Robins also paid tribute to the club’s Under-18s, added: “I saw a lot of the first-half and they thoroughly deserved it, there are a lot of good players in that team.
“They’ve got to work hard though, nobody has got a divine right to play in the first-team. Earn the right. But they’ve got some good quality in that side, and some good players.”