From the terraces to the pitch - Huw Dawson ecstatic to reach FA Cup first round with St Albans City
- Credit: JIM STANDEN
Five years ago he was just a boy of 12 stood on the York Road terraces cheering on his heroes against Carlisle United - now Huw Dawson is a hero himself and will be be in the St Albans City squad for their return to the FA Cup first round.
The 17-year-old scored his first goal for the club with a 25-yard piledriver and allowed a Benjamin Checklit equaliser for Corinthian Casuals took the replay to a penalty shoot-out, Michael Johnson came up big with two saves to set up a meeting at Clarence Park with League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers.
And Dawson can't wait to experience that big-match atmosphere on the pitch this time.
He said: "I was here for the Carlisle game and was in the stands behind the goal. I remember it well and the atmosphere that day was great.
"I’m looking forward to the buzz around the ground and the city.
"You can tell before a game [how big this competition is]. Everyone acts differently in the FA Cup, the matchday has a different feeling as it means that much to all the players.
"This is the first year I’ve ever played and I've managed to get some minutes on the pitch so it has been good."
The win over the Isthmian League Premier Division side wasn't as straight-forward as it perhaps should have been but Saints are happy to have achieved one pre-season goal.
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Dawson said: "We said from the start of the season that the first round was the aim so we’re delighted to have done that.
"We did the hard way, going all the way to penalties, but everyone has done well through each round.
"We were in control and I thought we would win it in the 90. We did have chances, Kyran [Wiltshire] has hit the post and even in extra-time I still thought we’d win it but we couldn’t quite get that goal.
"But MJ [Michael Johnson] always does well in a penalty shoot-out so we were confident."
Capping the win with his first goal was one that brought a smile to his face too, even if it left him momentarily unsure as to what to do next.
He said: "I had a rush of emotions after scoring, obviously that is my first goal and is probably one of my first shots for the club too.
"But I’ve hit it and it has gone in the top corner. I didn’t really know how to react but I went straight to the fans."