City defender desperate to revel in cup magic again

YORK City full-back Anthony Lloyd would relish another exciting FA Cup run after twice tackling Birmingham City last season.

The Minstermen, who have not progressed beyond the first round proper since 2002, begin their latest Cup odyssey at Northern League outfit Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) on Saturday.

And Lloyd, 22, is hoping the fourth qualifying round tie can lead to bigger things, having been a member of the Torquay side that forced a third round replay against Birmingham in January.

Steve Bruce's men were still a Premiership club then and Lloyd was assigned the job of marking Jermaine Pennant, later to sign for Liverpool in a £6.7million deal, during both matches.

The first game at Plainmoor ended goalless and the Gulls also held Birmingham at bay for the first hour of the St Andrews replay in front of 24,650 fans before goals from seasoned internationals Jiri Jarosik and Mikael Forssell ended the League Two team's resistance.

Recalling the experience, Lloyd said: "We had chances to beat them in the first game and had a goal disallowed. We then got beaten 2-0 in Birmingham but held them for an hour.

"I was up against Pennant and, for the first hour, I thought I played pretty well against him but he's very quick and tricky and, for the last 30 minutes, he seemed to turn into the world-class player he is.

"But, once you have played in a tie like that at a stadium like St Andrews in a great atmosphere, it does make you want to do it every season."

By beating Notts County in a second round replay, Lloyd's Torquay also ended current KitKat Crescent team-mate Lewis McMahon's hopes of testing himself against Premiership opposition.

McMahon scored for County in a 2-1 defeat but it was not the first time Torquay had required a replay to negotiate a passage into the next round.

City's Conference North neighbours Harrogate Town took the Devon side to penalties after a first round replay and Lloyd is, therefore, also aware of the Cup's penchant to provide potential banana-skins ahead of Saturday's trip to Benfield.

He said: "We went to Harrogate last season and they pushed us all the way. I imagine we will be going to a similar place on Saturday and they (Newcastle Benfield) will be up for it.

"It's their FA Cup final. I suppose, in terms of difference in class, it should be similar to Torquay v Birmingham last season but it's the FA Cup and it's anybody's game on the day because that's the spirit of the competition.

"There's no real philosophy to Cup games like these. You just need to work hard and take your chances.

"We also need to get back to winning ways because we can then carry that into our league form."

Lloyd returned to City's starting line-up during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Tamworth as a right-back with Darren Craddock suspended.

Craddock is available again this weekend but Lloyd, whose four previous starts came as a left-back when Nathan Peat suffered a dip in form, is hoping to stay in the team.

He said: "I want to play every week but that's up to the manager.

"It doesn't really bother me where I play either because, even though I've played on the left for the majority of my career, I'm right-footed."

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