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Philliskirk Proud Of His Players After Romulus Win

16 November 2016

Youth team boss Tony Philliskirk was proud of his players after beating Romulus 0-2 in the second round of the FA Youth Cup.

Ronaldo Brown and Rory Middleton scored the goals to win the game for Athletic on a tough night against good opposition.

Speaking about the game, Philliskirk said: “When the draw was made and I saw that they had beaten Notts County, I kept saying that’s the worst draw we could have possibly had, especially away from home.

"We have won 2-0, credit to the players, but everyone is now just saying well ‘you’ve beat Romulus’. That was a tough game and could have gone either way. 

“We watched videos and highlighted that they looked vulnerable on set pieces and we set up a few routines and the first one worked a treat which was a smashing goal. 

“We then dug in and Rory Middleton has a touch of quality for the second goal and we win the game but I’ve got to be honest, Callum O’Neill has made a couple of great saves at 0-0 to keep it level. 

"I thought we played poor in the first half and was intimidated by them. They had a lot bigger, stronger and more athletic players than we did and I think we struggled to cope with them physically in the first half. 

"At half time I spoke to them about the need to take care of the ball. We needed to move the ball quicker and that pleased me in the second half because we took care of the ball. 

“It was a big sigh of relief to get the win because that was a tough game. 

“I’ve got to give massive credit to the players because four weeks ago we would have lost that game. 

“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve developed a real resolve, defended really well and now it’s a massive banana skin over and I’m glad to get the win. 

"I’m proud of the boys tonight. I am demanding and there was a few harsh words said in the dressing room at half time. 

“I felt a few of them had to man up a little bit and accept the physical challenge but in the second half we dominated and it’s great to win the game."

Athletic now set up a third round tie against Championship side Birmingham City. “We say every year that the aim is the third round of the FA Youth Cup,” admitted Philliskirk. 

"I’m not being negative when I say this but realistically we are not going to win the FA Youth Cup. To draw a category one club, and a big club like Birmingham at home is fantastic. 

“The shoe will be on the other foot now where they are expected to beat us. 

“The players will have nothing to lose and will play with a bit more freedom and it’s a great opportunity to showcase themselves against so called better players from bigger clubs. 

"We look forward to that game with relish and hopefully we can continue our good form.”

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