Linnets youngsters surprise their boss
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn Reserves boss Steve Lilley is pleading for patience after the club's young guns helped the Linnets storm into a first Norfolk Senior Cup final appearance since 1994.
King's Lynn Reserves boss Steve Lilley is pleading for patience after the club's young guns helped the Linnets storm into a first Norfolk Senior Cup final appearance since 1994.
Lilley's youthful second string crushed Gorleston 6-1 at Emerald Park on Saturday to set up a Carrow Road showpiece in April against either Dereham or Wroxham.
Lynn fielded seven players aged 19 or under to ease past the Greens but Lilley is wary of fast-tracking the latest crop into Keith Webb's senior Blue Square North plans.
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“There's still a big gulf between reserve and first team level,” he said. “We've seen how the likes of Dominic (Dwyer) and Ross (Kelly) have been dipped in and out this season and I feel that is the correct way to go.
“I watch first team football and there aren't many U18 or U19 players who regularly feature. They need to be playing games and they do that at our level - which is a good level. They've got to keep learning their trade and we have to be patient with them.”
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Lilley will be an interested spectator at Aldiss Park tonight when the Ridgeons Premier heavyweights meet in their re-arranged semi final.
“We've really got no preference who we play,” he said. “We're changing the night we usually train so a few of us can go over to watch. Whoever gets through is a good side. Both clubs are top four, top five teams. We played Dereham this season and beat them but Wroxham gave us a bit of a lesson. When we get the lads together again this week we'll be stressing to them the final has to go on the back burner.
“That's easier said than done with young lads but we've got some tough games coming up and we don't want to get dragged into the relegation scrap. I believe if we can pick up a few points we're more than capable of going on to finish mid-table.”
Lilley admits a Norfolk Senior Cup final appearance was not on the radar when he took over in the summer.
“This is a proud moment for me and the coaching team,” he said. “Its 15 years since the club got to the final although I believe that was a first team. You actually have to go back 25 years for the last time the reserves were there. I know that because my assistant, Neil (Fryatt) was part of the squad. We sat down together at the start of the season with two objectives. The first was to avoid being involved near the bottom of the league and the second was to push a player or two through to the first team. Getting to a final is an added bonus.”
Lilley praised First Division underdogs Gorleston for more than playing their part in the one-sided Emerald Park romp.
“It wasn't as easy as perhaps the scoreline suggests,” he said. “We took our two chances in the first half and that was the difference.
“For the first 15 minutes after the break they came at us and if they had scored it would've been a different game. The third goal was crucial. Then we went on and played some good stuff and for the first time this season I could actually enjoy the final 15 minutes.
“We got beaten against Harwich recently and that was probably the kick up the backside we needed. Maybe they'd got a little complacent but after that game we knuckled back down in training and I was confident we would perform well.”
t Fakenham Town, without Ridgeon League action for two weeks, have arranged a home friendly tonight against Anglian Combination Premier Division side Cromer (7.45pm).