Eric Kinder on the Cup victory
Youth boss Eric Kinder spoke to us about the 5-0 Youth Alliance Cup quarter final victory over Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, and about the return to league action against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday.
“It was really good for us to get back to competitive action,” he said.
“We’ve played a few friendlies since our last game before Christmas but there is nothing quite like the edge you get when the result matters.
“I thought we’d be a little bit rusty but that was far from the case. We were excellent and really on our game. Having said that, it was a bit of a slow start from us for the first five or ten minutes but, once we got going, we looked a really good side.”
“We went one up on 14 minutes when Alex Salmon turned and hit one from inside the area. The keeper spilled it and Tom Berwick was on hand to put it away.
“The lads played some good stuff after that and we extended the lead on 27 minutes with what was a very good goal. Patrick Brough got past his man and he stood up a great delivery into the area.
“He has developed really well in that wide role and his deliveries have come on leaps and bounds. Alex Salmon had followed the move and he finished it off with a very firm header.
“I think it’s fair to say we dominated the rest of the first half and the team talk during the break was to make sure the lads stayed in focus. We knew they’d come at us a bit and I wanted them to keep it tight for at least 15 minutes.
“As it turned out we handled it fairly well and they never really looked like scoring. We kept going and we got the reward for that on 70 minutes when Jack Lynch smashed one in from the edge of the box. That was game over and a job well done.
“We made it even better for ourselves when Kyle Dempsey showed a terrific bit of a skill with a little lob over the keeper, and then Alex Salmon got his second of the day from the penalty spot in injury time.
“It was a really good day for us in a competition we always target. We do say that, but we never really seem to do very well in it. Hopefully that will change for us this time round. The draw has been kind to us in terms of the number of home games we’ve had and it’ll be our own fault if we don’t make it this time.
“I am really pleased with what we’ve done as a group simply because of the number of games we’ve lost to the weather. We’ve trained hard since we got back together in January and we have gone as far as arranging a number of friendly games as well. We played two internal games which gave me a chance to look at a few trialists and then we had very good fixtures against Annan and Morecambe.
“The lads looked fit and strong and credit to them for that. Two of our regular back four were missing but we didn’t let that upset us either. Brad Staunch is serving his three-match ban and Brandon Gwinnutt went down with an illness on Thursday.
“Connor Thomson stepped in at right back and he has given me something to think about. He was outstanding and the good thing with him is that he still has another two years with us ahead of him. It might just be, and completely by accident, that we’ve found a position he will enjoy. He’s big and powerful and we’ll have to see how that one goes.
“I thought the back four were excellent as a group and the two centre halves did a very good job. We’ve been guilty of being weak at the back on too many occasions but we’re the type of team who will get a goal. That makes keeping a clean sheet even more important for us.”
Looking ahead to the fixtures against Fleetwood, he said: “It isn’t ideal for us with the way this week has worked out. We have Fleetwood in a league game on Tuesday and then we face them again in the semi-final on Saturday. We’ll approach them as two different games but I do wish it had fallen differently.
“If we win on Tuesday it’ll give us confidence for Saturday, but I don’t want that to become over confidence. If we lose then it could knock us the other way and make us nervy, so it’s difficult to know how it will go. I don’t think we can afford to lose another game in the league if we really want to have a go at that, so we have to treat the match on Tuesday properly.
“The interesting thing for me was that training was really poor last Friday. The lads didn’t see it as important and I was concerned about that. It needed a few harsh words and the reaction came with the way they went about things on Saturday afternoon. We’ve got a great chance now of getting to a final but the lads have to realise that. It has to mean something to them and I think we’re getting there now.
“We’ll play our strongest team on Tuesday and, if that’s good enough to win the game, then we have to hope it will be good enough on Saturday as well.
“We said goodbye to Owen Heather after the match on Saturday. He’s gone back to Sheffield United and we wish him all the very best. He’s decided that he doesn’t want carry on with his work experience with us as it’s too far away from his base back in Sheffield. I had a chat with his staff over there and we agreed to bring his time here to an end. Like I say, he goes with our best wishes.”
United – Parker, Thomson, Chisholm, Morse, Minor, Lynch, Berwick, Dempsey, Brough (Dixon 77), Heather (Clarey 79), Salmon. Subs – Brass, McEvoy.
United Youth v Fleetwood Youth, Creighton Rugby Club, Tuesday 12 February, kick off 12pm