BURNLEY old boy Nathan Peel admits guiding Ribblesdale High School to the final of the English Schools’ FA Cup beats his goal double against Peter Shilton on his Turf Moor debut.
Peel, a PE teacher at his former school, is looking forward to the biggest game in Ribblesdale’s history as their Under-15 squad prepare to meet the Oasis Academy from Croydon at Derby County’s Pride Park on Monday.
“Scoring twice against Peter Shilton – one of England’s greatest goalkeepers – was my best moment in professional football, but taking these lads to the final tops the lot,” said Peel.
It is a remarkable achievement for the Ribble Valley school, who knocked out highly-fancied RSA Academy from West Bromwich in the quarter-finals, before beating last year’s finalists Wright Robinson from Manchester.
They included Manchester City’s England youth player Kean Bryan, and Peel added: “It is a fairytale story – 792 teams entered the English Schools’ FA Cup, but the lads have gone all the way.
“It is an outstanding effort as Ribblesdale hadn’t played in a Lancashire final, never mind a national final.
“But we’ve got a special group of players with a tremendous spirit and character. They are unbeaten in 14 months, and have played nine ties to reach the final.”
Peel, who attended Ribblesdale High before signing for Preston as an apprentice in the 1980s, said: “The boys’ achievement has caught the imagination of the town. We even had a special good luck message from MP Nigel Evans.”