Teenager hopes FA Cup history repeats itself

A TEENAGE footballer from South Tyneside is hoping FA Cup history is about to repeat itself.

Centre forward Shaun Reay is to take the field for Blyth Spartans next week in the biggest match of his life.

If they defeat League Two side Bournemouth in the FA Cup 2nd Round replay, it would set up a mouth-watering tie against Premier League Blackburn Rovers.

It is a tantalising prospect which has left 19-year-old dreaming of a repeat of Blyth's last famous cup run, when, back in 1978, the team hit the dizzy heights of the FA Cup Fifth Round.

The youngster said: "It's much harder to reach that stage of the cup these days for a non-league side because there is a much larger gulf today between the big and small clubs, but it's something to aim for.

"We're going into the game with confidence but we're not complacent.

"We're underdogs but if we get an early goal, anything can happen.

"One of their best players, Darren Anderton, has just retired, so we don't have him to contend with.

"We think we can win, and I'll not be bothered if I don't score – as long as we get through."

Blyth have the added incentive of the match, next Tuesday from 7.45pm, being screened live on Setanta Sports.

The Spartans striker fired home two goals against Shrewsbury Town last month to take the Northumberland side into the next stage of the cup.

He is an accountancy student at South Tyneside College and a former Boldon School pupil.

At the start of this season, Shaun was on the books of League Two Darlington, but left after becoming frustrated about the direction of his career.

He enrolled on a one-year Association of Accounting Technicians course at college in South Shields, and went on loan to non-league Harrogate Town.

When that did not work out, he signed a two-year contract with Blyth in October.

He scored on his Spartans debut, in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round at Sheffield FC, to set up a first0round tie at home to League Two's Shrewsbury Town.

Highlights of the 3-1 victory over Paul Simpson's Shrews were the main feature on ITV that night, and Reay responded with two goals – one after 31 seconds – which saw him shortlisted for the player of the round award.

Spartans reached the FA Cup fifth round in the 1977-78 season after seeing off league opposition in the shape of Chesterfield and Stoke City before Wrexham knocked them out in a replay at Newcastle United's St James's Park.