FOOTBALLER Jack Hartley, who has secured a scholarship with Accrington Stanley, helped his team to their highest ever place in the FA Youth Cup.
The Stanley youth side got into the fifth round and were the only League Two side left facing opponents from the Premier and Championship.
Jack, 16, who is in Year 11 at Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads, is the only Rossendale player in the team.
He had to sit out the first match against Carlisle because of injury and although he was on the subs bench for the next four matches he got to play in every one.
Stanley beat Carlisle 3-1 then played away at Ilkeston with a final score of 1-0. They took on Premier League side West Ham and against the odds won 2-1. In the fourth round Stanley beat Bristol City 4-1.
The highlight of the tournament for Jack was playing Bristol City.
“I came off the bench and I had only been playing 5-8 minutes when I had a run down the line and I had a shot, it looked like it was going in but it just went wide,” said Jack (above).
The final match saw Jack having three days off school for training then a seven-hour coach trip for the fifth round tie against Championship side Reading returning home at 4am.
Jack admitted it was the toughest of all the fixtures.
“We had a couple of players injured, but had most of the team available,” he said.
“Reading was a very good side and they were very experienced. They had possession for most of the game. I was on the bench at the start and within the first two minutes we had our closest chance at a goal but the Reading team outplayed us and the final score was 3-0.
“The youth side had only ever managed to get into the second round previously and the manager was delighted with how well we had done. He said a lot of people will be watching us now because we had shown what we could do as a team.”