Head coach Ben Wilkinson expressed his delight after seeing his City charges book our place in the FA Youth Cup final after a tense and hard-fought 1-0 semi-final win over Bristol City at the Joie Stadium.

Pitted against a young Robins side who hadn’t conceded a goal on their way to the last four it always promised to be a demanding match.

And so it proved with the visitors keeping City at bay for more than 80 minutes before substitute Ashton Muir, who had been brought on after an hour, proved the match-winner, firing home from close range.

Victory was all the sweeter for City coming a year after a heartbreaking FA Youth Cup semi-final exit at Arsenal.

And reflecting on the win, Wilkinson urged his players to look to complete the job in the final where we will play host to either Leeds or Millwall who meet on Thursday in their semi-final.

“We are obviously delighted to be through to the final as we shouldn’t underestimate how hard it is to get to the final of this competition,” the head coach said.

“It was a really tough game like we knew it would be, but I thought we probably got better the longer the game went on and got more control of the game.

“We probably didn’t create loads but I kind of knew how we thought we could score and It turned out that way so we are really pleased.

CELEBRATION TIME: Ashton Muir and his colleagues are all smiles.
CELEBRATION TIME: Ashton Muir and his colleagues are all smiles.

“We actually spoke before the game about the Arsenal semi last season.

“Probably about half of the squad were involved in that on what was a disappointing night in the end, so we are delighted to get over that hurdle.

“It’s the first time we’ve been in this final for a few years and across the five games so far we’ve been pretty good.

“We’ve been really solid and there has been real steel about us. Hopefully we can go one more in the final.”

Wilkinson also paid tribute to the impact of Muir and fellow substitute Isaiah Dada-Mascoll, who came on to make his first appearance of the season after injury.

And he said it was another example of the importance of every member of the squad.

SUDDEN IMPACT: Muir and Isaiah Dada-Mascoll prepare to come on.
SUDDEN IMPACT: Muir and Isaiah Dada-Mascoll prepare to come on.

“We talk all the time to the group about the impact of the bench,” the head coach added.

“Every single one of the guys wants to start. But you know if you look at the last two games in this competition, the subs have come on and made the difference.

“It was the same in the semi-final of the Under-18 Premier League Cup.

“So, subs are massive for us, and Ash was really unlucky not to start but he had a really good attitude about it and he came on and affected the game, which is all you can ask.

“So, I’m really pleased for him because he’s had a difficult year at times so I’m delighted for him to come on score the winner.”