We caught up with youth boss Eric Kinder to get his thoughts on what had been a good week for his young side.
“We’d been struggling to score goals in the league, and I think the Cumberland Cup game [Cockermouth] helped with the confidence," he explained. "We’ve gone from not scoring in five games to scoring nine goals in two games which is really pleasing.
“The most pleasing thing about the game against Port Vale was the way we played. We moved the ball really quickly and we looked a strong side going forward. We went a goal behind early on to a penalty but after that we basically controlled the first half and got ourselves into a position where we could go on and win quite easily.
“We conceded a sloppy second goal and we thought our backs would be against the wall for the last 20 minutes but we went and scored again, and in the end the result was a fair reflection on how much we dominated the game.
“It was the first time in a while in a league game where we actually took the chances we created. We played well at Fleetwood but couldn’t score, and the difference on Friday was that when the chances came we took them."
“We’ve brought Ethan Henderson in to add to our options up top and he got himself two goals," he continued. "He’s got a track record of scoring goals at youth level, and he scored a lot of goals last year at York.
"They’re in a different league, but to score 22 goals in a season at any level shows he knows where the goal is. He’s quite a way off being fit, because he hasn’t played for a while, but he was a free agent and we’ve secured his services until January so we can see how it goes.
“Both of his goals were typical centre forward goals inside the penalty box. He’s got in front of his markers, the first one is a little touch from Adam Walton’s cross and the second one is a header where he’s got across his man.
“He did actually score a hat-trick, but the referee got injured in the warm-up and could only last until half time, so he ended up going on the line. He’d pulled his calf muscle so he couldn’t move which meant he wasn’t in line with play, and Ethan was onside when he scored his third goal, but he was flagged offside.
"The groundsman on the next pitch actually shouted over and said even he could see he was onside ... and then five minutes later the groundsman ended up running the line! I felt a little bit sorry for Ethan because it would have been great for him to score a hat-trick on his debut, especially when he isn’t up to speed yet."
On the absences of Swailes and Barnes, he said: “We were still missing Ryan through suspension and Charlie Barnes through injury. "Charlie probably could have played, but we wanted another week’s training into him before we stepped him back.
"It was good to get a good performance without those two because if we add them back into the squad and produce a performance like we did on Friday in the youth cup it will be a fascinating game.
“We've got Salford in that competition next Wednesday and they're top of the league. You can obviously see where they recruit from. It will be a tough ask, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.
"We’ve got the alliance cup game on Saturday against Doncaster, but we can now only get six points in the group and there are two sides who already have six points, so it’s unlikely we’ll qualify through that.
“The youth cup is the big one for any youth team, and it will be a big test for us. They’ve come into the league this year and they’re a club on a massive high. They’ll have recruited very well, they’re top of the league with Preston, so it’s a tough one for us."
“We’ve got the Cumberland Cup game against Northbank scheduled in now as well," he concluded. "I think if those games are played on a Saturday it will be a youth competition, but with us playing on a Wednesday I think it will be more like a reserve game.
"I think the manager will want some of his fringe players involved, so it will be Gav [Skelton] who takes it with either myself of Mark [Birch]. If we get through then get drawn away, it will become a youth game again on a Saturday.
"It’s a competition we always want to get to the final in and it will be no different this year, whoever plays."
United v Port Vale – Robinson, Walton (Lewis 87), Birch, Lightfoot, Wilson, Day, Rooks, Armstrong, Henderson (Soper 81), Charters, Bell (Leslie 86). Subs – Barnes, Breeze.
Goals - Henderson (2), Armstrong, Walton