Head of Coaching Conor Marlin was proud of the Youth Team as they drew 1-1 away to Stafford Rangers in a tough pre-season encounter.
A depleted Youth Team managed to come from a goal down after underperforming in the first half.
However, it was a different story in the second as Ben Hough found an equaliser, leaving Marlin very happy with the side.
“That was the best team we’ve played so far in pre-season and we had five players with the first team which is fantastic and a couple unavailable through injury.” He said.
“We had a couple of people playing out of position, but the first half compared to the second half was night and day.
“First half we were probably a little bit intimidated and we didn’t play our usual game which was disappointing, but it’s what it’s about learning for them.
“They had a different type of test in the first half.”
“At half time we had a good chat and gave them some words of encouragement and it was nothing short of a sensational performance in the second half.
“Their manager after the game couldn’t believe how good we were in the second half.
“They made a few changes as well, but the hunger, character, tenaciousness and the quality on the ball was so impressive, we were so proud of them.”
The Head of Coaching believes that the lads continue to impress through their pre-season matches.
The draw with Stafford makes it five unbeaten now for the Youth Team and the lads are improving with each game.
“Every game they’re adding different bits to it and Tuesday night was the biggest test of their character because they were a big, strong and physical team with some players with Football League experience.” He commented.
“It has been designed that way for a reason, we knew this week was going to be tough and we know Saturday is going to be tough again.”
Five Youth Team players were involved in the first teams’ friendly against Ashton United.
Andy Hackett, Reece Gaskell, Drew Baker, Will Sutton and Ellis Allen all featured in the game to the delight of Marlin.
“It’s brilliant to see, I’ve spoken to them all since the Ashton United game and they really enjoyed the experience and want more of it, so that will add to training with energy and enthusiasm for them which will be infectious for the rest of the group.
“The important thing for the rest of the group is they will hopefully get their chance as well because we’ve got a lot of good kids coming through and just need an opportunity.”
The Youth Team travel to Winsford United on Saturday and Marlin expects another physical test for the lads.
“It will be another physical test, I’ve seen a picture of their pitch and it’s absolutely massive like Tuesday night was as well, a very big pitch.
“We expect another strong non-league team and now we need to now see if we can start from the first minute rather than just the second half.
“If we could put our game plan onto them rather than being on the back foot a little bit, that’s what we’re hoping to see.”
Here’s a reminder of the remaining Youth Team pre-season fixtures.
Saturday 27 July (1pm KO) – Away
vs. Winsford United
Tuesday 30 July (12:30pm KO) – Away
vs. FC Halifax Town U18's