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Starlets make history with a cup final double.

Byline: Philip Tallentire

Boro Under-18s 1 Crewe Under-18s 0 (Boro won 3-0 on aggregate)

Hail the history makers.

All-conquering Boro have won through to a second successive FA Youth Cup final for the first time in the club's history after a deserved 3-0 aggregate win over Crewe.

Boro went into last night's semi-final, second-leg, leading 2-0 and a 23rd minute Tom Craddock strike put the outcome beyond doubt on a bitterly cold Riverside night.

Coach Mark Proctor was delighted with his side's display in front of a sparse but noisy crowd.

He said: "I thought the lads were terrific and I think they fully deserve to be in the final.

"The bottom line is we've got a terrific bunch of players.

"We knew we were in a strong position following the first-leg and we were hoping we could build on that when we brought Crewe back to our place.

"We got through a difficult first period when Crewe were the better team and went from strength-to-strength.

"Tom did really well with the goal, I believe he's the top scorer in the competition."

The result means Boro now play Aston Villa in the final of the prestigious under-18 competition, with the first leg in Birmingham next Thursday (ko 8.05pm).

The second-leg follows at the Riverside on Monday, April 19 (ko 7.45pm), and Sky will be broadcasting both matches live.

Boro, who were beaten by Manchester United in last season's final, looked nervous in the early stages of last night's encounter, with Crewe going close to grabbing a crucial early goal.

The home side's five-man midfield struggled to cope with the Alex's fluid front-runners. Kyle Wilson gave Boro an early scare when his third minute shot flashed just over the bar and on 19 minutes Nicky Maynard hit David Knight's right-hand post with a clever shot on the turn.

But the match was effectively over as a contest when Boro took the lead with a well-worked goal.

A neat sequence of passes allowed Anthony Peacock to break away down the left flank and his cross picked out Craddock, who took one touch before lashing his shot into the net from inside the box.

The goal lifted Boro though Crewe, to their credit, didn't let their heads drop. Both sides went close late in the first half with Craddock heading a Gary Liddle cross onto the woodwork and Mark Carrington heading over for the visitors.

In the second half, Craddock came closest to scoring when his 59th minute goal-bound shot was blocked on the line by Cavel Coo.

BORO: Knight, McMahon, Masters, Bates (Hines 78), Wheater, Kennedy, Liddle, Taylor, Craddock (Reed 79), Morrison, Peacock (Johnson 74). Unused subs: Pennock, van Geele.

CREWE: Fon Williams, Coo (Holroyd 80), Lloyd, Bond, Bignot, Kerr, Roberts, O'Connor, Wilson (Howard 73), Maynard, Carrington. Unused subs: Hogg, Warlow, White.

Attendance: 2,531
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Title Annotation:Sport Boro
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2004
Words:475
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