Academy manager Alan Moore on the FA Youth Cup second round victory
Youth boss Alan Moore spoke to us about the dramatic FA Youth Cup second round victory over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.
“We’re pleased that we’re in the next round because it’s becoming a good little run for the lads in this cup,” he said. “They’re enjoying playing in the competition, but we have to be honest and say we didn’t play well in any way, shape or form in this game.
“Doncaster were better than us in a lot of respects and we’ve told the lads in the dressing room after the game that we’re still waiting for a lot of them to show up properly this season. We haven’t got it down and played in the way we should be doing in either of the games on the main pitch so far.
“However it’s cup football, we’re through to the next round and that’s what counts. We probably had the better of the chances on the night and if we’d taken one of them it could have saved us from having to go into extra time. We kept going and we’re happy that we got the result in the end.”
“It was a game where we had to defend quite a bit because we didn’t keep the ball in the key areas for long enough,” he continued. “The back four were excellent and they protected the keeper to the point where he wasn’t really tested. I can’t really remember a save he had to make, which is pleasing.
“Mikey Quigley sat just in front of them and we thought he did a great job in helping to break their spells of possession up. The penalty was well won by Arron Bradbury but we’ve asked him why it took him until extra time to go on a run like that. He has that ability but he has to show it more.
“The penalty was put away well by Carl Taylor but he’s another where we’re waiting for him to turn up and start producing for us. He’s better than what he’s showing us at this moment in time. I’m pleased he got the goal, especially a pressure goal like that, and hopefully that will help to kick him on.”
“Fitness wise I thought we looked excellent,” he agreed. “Their lads did say they were struggling a bit in extra time but it could be that we had a little more in reserve because the game wasn’t as free-flowing as it should have been. That meant our players had more in the tank, and they were definitely more extended and tested in the last round against Tranmere.
“We didn’t play as well as we could but we’ve done what was needed to get through to face Preston in the next round. I’m sure that will be another close and tough game for us.”
“Games like this are a massive learning curve for the lads because of the uncertainty of the build up to it,” he confirmed. “On Monday morning we were all convinced the game wasn’t going to go ahead.
“You’re then in a situation where you have to convince the players they need to prepare as if the game is going to be on. Young lads allow their minds to drift fairly quickly and little bits and pieces start to affect them. It becomes a job in itself to try and keep them on track. They’ve done well with that so there are positives for us to take away from it.
“Psychologically we haven’t had a player who hasn’t been able to handle the occasion and that’s pleasing. The frustrating thing is we know there’s a lot more in there in terms of how they play football. We have a lot of good players who aren’t getting on the ball and that makes it a more disjointed performance than it should be. The aim is for us to put on a show so that people see how good we are. Hopefully that will come in the next round.”
On the flood water which covered the pitch over Sunday and Monday, he said: “I’ve never seen anything like what our pitch has been through over the last 48 hours.
“We were expecting it to be wet and damp but it took everything and it was in an unbelievably good condition. The wind and rain made things interesting but that was the same for both teams. We have to say thank you to the ground staff because their efforts to get the game on were out of this world.
“We also have to say thank you to our stand in assistant referee. Doncaster were worried that the game was going to have to be called off so it was fantastic that someone was able to step in. It’s something I’ve never seen before at this level and it was another unusual situation the lads had to deal with. Overall both sides were just pleased that we were going to be able to complete the game.”
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