Eric Kinder on the Alliance Cup win
Head of youth Eric Kinder spoke to us about the 4-2 win over Rotherham in the Youth Alliance Cup first round last weekend.
He said: “It was another long trip for us and it came off the back of the Wednesday night journey to Crewe for the FA Cup game.
“That one went to extra time and we didn’t get home until 1am on Thursday. We had to leave for this one at 6am on Saturday morning and it was a worry. We’d put so much effort in at Gresty Road that I thought we would suffer for it.
“We did struggle if I’m going to be honest. We were sluggish but I think we had to expect that. Having said that, we took the lead from a good goal from the edge of the box from Tom Berwick. That gave us a lift but the first half was hard work. We had to drag ourselves through it because we couldn’t get going.
“They equalised just before the break and that was because we were all at sea at the back. We’d lost the ball and we had men out of position, and their forward runner was able to slot it in.
“We had a few harsh words at half time but all I wanted to do with that was try to get just a little bit more out of them. They reacted to that, they dug deep and they did really well.
“I think they deserved the win in the end. We kicked off and seconds later we were in front again with another really good finish from Kyle Dempsey. We looked steady for a while but we let them get back into it just before the hour. It was a disappointing goal to concede because their midfield lad ran through two half-hearted tackles. That left him with the easy job of sticking it away.
“Heads could have dropped at that point, but they didn’t. We kept battling and trying to play but it still took us until the 84th minute to get another goal. The last thing I wanted was penalties so there was a bit of relief when Brandon Gwinnutt scored a terrific goal. He overlapped on the right and latched onto a through ball from the left and then he smashed it past the keeper. It really was a very good goal.
“Rotherham didn’t really respond to that and we wrapped it up with our fourth goal. Dempsey took it to the corner and I think everyone expected him to protect it and waste a bit of time. He decided to turn on it instead and he went past two defenders before putting it away.
“It turned out to be a very good day for us. We thought we had a serious injury to Tom Berwick just before half time and just about everybody who looked at him thought he’d broken his leg. We got him back to the treatment room and a full assessment found that it was just a horrible whack on his knee. Hopefully that will settle quickly.
“The lads are very tired now. It’s been a heck of a ten days but they’re at Blackpool this weekend and that is a bit of an easier journey for them.
“It was a good win and I had told the lads that I wasn’t going to make any excuses. The easy thing would have been to go there, go through the motions and get knocked out. I made it clear that we weren’t going to use extra time and tiredness as a reason for not being in this competition. They showed a bit of character by digging deep and finding enough to get through it. They crawled off the pitch at the end … but they crawled off with smiles on their faces after what was a very good win. With a bit of luck we can have a good run in this cup.
“We looked really good as a defensive unit in this one and that was a massive positive. They’re not a bad side so it’s one we were always going to have to work hard to get past.
“The next round of this competition is at home and that’s one to look forward to. We want to get as far as we can so the aim is to be in the third round for the New Year. We’ve still got things we need to work on. Defensively we still aren’t where I want us to be. We are still conceding far too many goals and that shouldn’t be happening when you have a second-year back five.
“The midfield group have to help with that so that’s something we’ll keep doing in training. Alex Salmon is back this week and hopefully he will help at the other end when it comes to getting the goals we need. We’re not a bad side though. We always want more but there are some good players and there’s plenty for us to look forward to.”
United – Parker, Gwinnutt, Staunch, Morse, Minor, Dempsey, Lynch, Berwick (Dixon 43), Brough, Thomson, Peel (Chisholm 60). Subs – Brass, McEvoy.