United lose out in exciting game
We spoke to youth team coach Dave Wilkes following the home friendly against Middlesbrough on Tuesday afternoon.
"Boro asked us a couple of weeks ago if we would play a friendly, with it being international week, and we were more than happy to do that," he said.
"We played their under 18 side up at Creighton but they had a couple of trialists included in their team. It was a great game for all concerned in the end. We were actually 3-0 down at half time even though we'd had some good chances during the first half."
"The half time scoreline probably flattered them but we got to grips with it in the second half," he continued. "They play with a lot of movement, and they rotate positions a lot, which means they had plenty of the ball and they opened us up on a couple of occasions. They were the best youth team we've seen all season, which is what you'd expect, and it was a great experience for the lads."
"Danny Hodgson scored a couple of goals in the second half and Alex Salmon got our third. Jason Blackburn had a glorious chance to equalise at 3-4 down but he couldn't quite manage to put it away.
"It was a really good learning curve for some of the younger players because they realised how hard they have to work against these better sides. They moved the ball very well and kept it for long periods of time. We worked our socks off defensively, we were trying to chase them down and win the ball back which was difficult because they were a very good team."
"It was a good chance for us to prepare for the Fleetwood game at the weekend," he added. "They will provide a totally different test for us because they're a more direct team, so we will concentrate on preparing for that game now.
"Chants [Christ Chantler] played about an hour for us which is important in terms of his recovery. He was a calming influence on a very young team and it was very good to see him back in action. Danny Hodgson played the second half and got his goals, and Patrick Brough had a good game, but all of the lads put in strong performances."
"The lads have played a lot of football over the last couple of weeks which can only be a good thing," he said. "I think they learn a lot more during games than they do in training. If we go back to the Wigton game on Saturday, it was a very disappointing result but the lads will have learned a lot from it.
"We've arranged an under 16 game across at their academy during half term so it is a good relationship to have. They're a grade one academy so we don't usually get the chance to play teams of that quality. Again, it will be a really good experience for the younger age group to play a game like that."
United: Brass (Eccles 46), Gwinnutt, Chisholm, Dickson, Chantler (Marshall 65), White, Hammell (Salmon 70), Moyes, Brough, Salmon (Hodgson 46), Elliott (Blackburn 46).