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YOUTH: I don't think I've ever been involved in a game like it

Gav Skelton with his reaction to the amazing weekend victory

15 August 2017

Professional Development Phase Coach, Gavin Skelton, was pleased with his sides character after a tremendous comeback against Port Vale.

Having been down and out at 5-1 down, the Young Blues rallied and two goals in injury time handed them the unlikeliest of victories as they triumphed 6-5.

And while Skelton was pleased with the overall result, he says that won’t mask the areas for improvement himself and Darren Edmondson have earmarked.

“It was some game - defences on top for sure,” Skelton joked. “Obviously we were disappointed to be 5-1 down but we showed great character to get back in it.

“The substitutes we brought on showed great energy. You can talk about tactics all you like but sometimes running around, that enthusiasm to get on the ball and just enjoying the game can help.

“We got back to 5-2 and then 5-3 and latched onto on their body language as they were starting to worry. “Thankfully we noticed that and ended up winning.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game like that and it’s great to get a first win of the season.”

Four goals in the final nine minutes sealed the victory for United, and Skelton said once the deficit was reduced to two he felt his side had a chance.

You always know that with ten minutes left you’re going to get another chance ...

Gav Skelton

“When it went to 5-3 we were looking at the clock and we knew if we got one more then they would have had to make a decision whether to stick or twist,” he added. “You always know that with ten minutes left you’re going to get another chance.

“Thankfully we got to 5-5 and we’d have bitten your hand off for that, so to get to 6-5 is really good for the lads.

“You can see how pleased they are and it was a hard, physically demanding week in training, so we’re pleased to come out on top.”

The catalyst for the comeback was the introduction of three substitutes, with Ciaron Casson, Liam McCarron and Josh Galloway all netting after entering the fray in the second half.

And Skelton was quick to praise the energy and enthusiasm of these substitutes which helped to change the game.

“All our squad have good ability and we just need to add to that,” he said. “We work with them tactically but you can’t beat a bit of energy, desire and willingness to run about.

“I know it sounds basic but if you do that then it gives you a great chance. We won’t get away with that again I’m sure, but it’s worked today.”

Similarly to the first team’s trip to Cassius Camps, the U18 squad spent a day in the Lake District in the build-up to this game, with Skelton saying it helped the side grow closer together.

“It did help and they really bonded,” he admitted. “We went walking up the hill and canoeing and everyone had a laugh together.

“It’s nice to have a whole day just together doing stuff and pushing each other on. I won’t say that inspired the comeback but it certainly didn’t do us any harm and built a bit of team spirit and unity.”

The hard work now continues for the Young Blues, with Skelton saying there is plenty to work on despite the ultimately positive result.

“We’ve told the lads that the result doesn’t take away from the things we didn’t do right," he commented. “We have to put them right because we probably won’t get away with them again.

“It can’t mask where we let ourselves down and that won’t change how we approach training next week, albeit in more of a positive mindset after three points.

“We’ll make sure we take that positivity while being aware that we need to tighten up on a lot of things."

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