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YOUTH: A difficult game

25 September 2013

Reaction to the Walsall defeat

Youth team coach Chris Blake gave us his reaction to the Walsall game last weekend. 

"It was a difficult game," he said. "The pitch and the conditions were perfect but they were a very good side. 

"They had a lot of second years in their team who were very strong and intelligent on the ball. You always know that Walsall provide a tough test and that proved to be the case again last week. 

"We coped quite well in the first 25 minutes or so but a little bit of inexperience from Cameron Dickson cost us the first goal. After that our heads went down and we conceded two more goals within the next 15 minutes. We found it difficult to get back into the game and there were some signs of ill discipline and a lack of composure. That made it a tough first half for us overall. 

"They deserved to go into half time three goals ahead and we had to think about how we could change things to make sure we were more solid. We wanted to concentrate on keeping the ball and playing shorter passes rather than just playing long balls forward. We brought Danny Hodgson and James Scott on at half time for Cameron Dickson and Jason Blackburn. That meant we could change the shape slightly, because Danny is a different type of player to Jason, and we did manage to keep the ball for longer periods. 

"We were probably a bit wasteful with the ball and we lacked a bit of quality in the final third, but the midfield got to grips with the game better in the second half. Tom White calmed things down for us and he was playing some good balls through for Connor Hammell and Frankie Wallace to get onto. 

"Matty Douglas, one of our udner 16's, had a very good game. It was only his second start for our youth team and he was up against a very good forward player. 

"We drew the second half, which was what we asked for, but we would have liked to have seen a goal. However, the improved performance gives us something to work on this week. We'll look at composure and decision making which is something we've been working on since they came back at the beginning of the season. 

"This game was probably a bit of a wakeup call for the lads. We played Morecambe the week before and won quite easily, but I think this has shown them that they need to put a lot of hard work in to compete in this league. 

"Lewis Brass played very well again. He made some great saves and without him they could have scored a lot more. He went to Workington on work experience, and got man of the match, so he should be very proud of himself for what he's achieved over the last couple of weeks. He's worked hard and kept his head down and I think you can see that it has started to pay off. We all hope he keeps it going because he's a great lad and he's got the potential to be a very good goalkeeper. He needs to keep focusing on getting himself a professional contract because at the end of the day that's what it's all about."

On the youth team managerial situation, he said: "Davie Irons hasn't been with us as much recently, because he has been helping out with the first team, but he's never far away. He's been giving us some very good information to pass on to the lads about how things work in the first team. 

"He's still very passionate about the youth team and he's working really hard to stay involved with the lads by coming in every day and talking to them. He's obviously doing really well with the first team alongside Kav [Graham Kavanagh] and Caigy [Tony Caig] and we're all right behind them. 

"If our way of helping the first team is letting Davie help them then we're very happy to do that. We all want success for the first team and hopefully they can carry that on." 

United: Brass, Chisholm, Marshall, Douglas, Dickson (Scott 46), Wallace, White, Hammell, Blackburn (Hodgson 46) Elliot, Brough. Subs: Eccles. 

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