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Burnham boss Paul Shone turns to youth in Floodlit Cup victory

Burnham returned to winning ways on Tuesday with a comprehensive 3-0 cup win away at Milton United.

Paul Shone’s men were winless in four going into the clash in Oxford, but the boss saw his young side dismantle the Hellenic One East outfit.

Goals from Oliver Harris, Thomas Willment and Kian Duncan secured the victory which moves the Blues into the semi-finals of the Floodlit Challenge Cup.

Shone handed a debut to 16-year-old goalkeeper Sam Hayes and was impressed with fellow 16-year-old striker Louis Fountain. Both played the full 90 minutes.

“We were very young (on Tuesday). When the boys came in they did very well,” Shone said.

“It was an opportunity for the keeper to keep his place because ours is cup tied.

“The only thing (Fountain) missed was scoring a goal. All round, his play was fantastic.

“It was good to see Ollie Harris back amongst the goals, too.”

The win at Milton followed Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Westfields in the Hellenic Premier – who are unbeaten in the league this season.

“It is good to get back to winning ways after Saturday’s defeat, where we played really well against the team that is unbeaten all season. It was a pleasing display,” Shone added.

A semi-final tie now presents the Blues with a great opportunity to reach a final and claim some silverware this campaign.

Their opponents in the next round have not yet been announced.

Shone said: “We are confident any game we go into, when we have got our strongest 11 out we are a match for anybody.

“Obviously winning breathes confidence and confidence breathes a winning mentality.

“It is one we will look forward to whoever it will be. We are confident and hopefully it is a home tie. We will fancy ourselves.”

The boss will be hoping Burnham can translate their impressive cup form into Saturday’s league clash away at Tuffley Rovers (KO 3pm).

The Blues have struggled in the league of late – failing to win in it so far in February - with their last victory coming back in January at Easington Sports.

But they still sit in 7th place with 34 points after 25 games.

Rovers sit six points below Burnham in 15th but have four games in hand on the Blues.

The boss added: “Collectively, from the 11 that started to the three subs, they all played their part (on Tuesday) and it was good to get back to a winning feeling. Hopefully we carry that into Saturday.

“We have got some players back from injury so we will be stronger going into the game but it is always a difficult place to go.

“They are a good side and we have to go there and earn the respect and the right to play.”

After this weekend’s clash, Burnham are away again to Shrivenham on Saturday, March 7.

They will be hoping to maneouvre their way up a tight league where just 10 points separates 4th and 15th place.

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