Jamie Cumming: Chelsea's on-loan keeper performing FA Cup heroics at Stevenage
Photo by Ben Pooley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

May 2018. A gilded Chelsea U18 side containing future England internationals Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi thrashed an Arsenal U18 side 7-1 over two legs to lift the FA Youth Cup.

Such was the margin of victory over a talented teenage Gunners team, which included the precocious Bukayo Saka, you could be forgiven for failing to notice the Blues' youngster between the sticks also impressing over 180 minutes, as the Stamford Bridge outfit went on to lift their fifth FA Youth Cup in a row. 

The young goalkeeper's name? Jamie Cumming

Fast forward two years, and while some of his west London colleagues are busy making a name for themselves in the Champions League and at the top table of English football, the 21-year-old Cummings has been quietly learning his trade in League Two.

However, on Sunday, Cummings grabbed national headlines by becoming lowly Stevenage's FA Cup hero in helping secure a place in the third round draw for Alex Revell's battling Boro.

Boro had drawn 1-1 with Hull City, the League One table toppers, after extra-time, Elliot List cancelling out a Tom Eaves spot-kick 11 minutes from the end of normal time.

Cumming, the Winchester-born 21-year-old, on-loan at the Lamex from the Premier League side for the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign, got the better of Eaves in the shoot-out - before denying Sean McLoughlin in the crucial spot-kick to send the north Herts side through: prompting much pandemonium among the Stevenage ranks at the Lamex.

Afterwards, the modest netminder reflected on his efforts and how far he'd come since the 2018 FA Youth Cup final.

He said: "Those were good days. Those were days when football was a lot simpler. I had the best team in England [at that level] in front of me every week.

"It's definitely a different challenge in League Two, and one I'm enjoying and embracing.

"Personally, I think I've adapted really well at Stevenage. I don't think I've looked out of place, I think I'm performing well week in, week out.

"As a team we can build on this victory now and put together a run of results and look to move away from the bottom. 

"We know if we play like this every week we can pick up results against teams in League Two."

One team that Cumming is certain he doesn't want to be drawn against in Monday evening's FA Cup third round draw is parent club Chelsea, owned by billionaire Roman Abramovich

Why not Chelsea?

The affable shotstopper explained when previewing the eagerly-awaited draw: “I would say Chelsea away [is the draw I want] but I’m not sure I’d be able to play in that,” he joked. 

“One of the other teams away from home. We’ll give it a good go.

“It’s an amazing feeling [to win on penalties] and obviously as a keeper it’s the best way to win the game.

“I’m still annoyed that I didn’t save the penalty during the game but I played well apart from that.

“We’re all delighted and it is a massive win for the club.”

FA Cup hero

Cumming is certainly learning on the job, while earning a reputation as a spot-kick expert. 

Boro's heartening victory over the Tigers was the fourth time during this campaign they found themselves facing penalties - losing to Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup and Northampton Town in the EFL Trophy but beating Concord Rangers on another dramatic FA Cup afternoon at Broadhall Way

“I did a lot of homework,” he admitted after his Hull heroics. “We had research on five of their takers and I didn’t save one of them. They all changed the way they went.

“I’m better when I go off instincts and luckily I pulled two saves out of the bag.

“It’s two out of four [on penalties] but we’ve won the two FA Cup ones and those are the ones that matter, the most important ones for the club, and we’re buzzing we’re in the next round.

“I love it. All the way through extra-time I was preparing myself mentally as you know nine times out of 10 it is going to pens.

“You just have to believe it is going to be your moment.”

Boro's false position

Despite Boro sat in 21st spot in the fourth tier, Cumming insists it is a false position. 

He said: “We deserved to at least draw the game in normal time. The amount of chances was quite even and it shows that if we play with intensity and win second balls, first balls, do all these simple things then we can compete with anyone in League Two.

“We do have quality up the pitch as well when we can get the ball to them.

“We won on Tuesday night [against Port Vale] and we want to keep that going.

“We know that if we put a couple of results together then we will be away from the bottom of the league.

“We’re confident as a team but we just need to build on it now.”

Roll on the FA Cup third round draw later - just don't mention the word Chelsea to Cumming. Stamford Bridge can wait for this talented youngster going places.

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