United’s under-18 side went top the Youth Alliance North West Division table with a 2-0 home victory over Morecambe on Saturday, and it was the perfect way to bounce back from the disappointment of the midweek FA Cup penalty shoot-out defeat – a thrilling encounter which could have gone either way.
Speaking after the win over the Shrimps, Mark Birch said: “It was a good solid performance.
“It was one of those you look back on as a job well done. We passed the ball well and defended properly, and it was a very professional performance.
“We didn’t really have to say a lot to the lads after the disappointment of the FA Cup. We thought about having a big meeting to discuss what went wrong on the night, but after listening to how the lads were in the dressing room, they knew they didn’t perform.
“We only ended up speaking about that game for five minutes because you could see they were disappointed, so there was no point dwelling on it.
“We all knew what went wrong last Tuesday, it was just one of those freak games, so they knew they needed to bounce back. That’s what they did.”
And he confirmed that everything felt right heading into the weekend fixture.
“They trained very well on Friday, which was the first proper session we had after Tuesday’s game,” he explained. “You could tell the tempo was right, and it was the same during the warm-up on Saturday.
“The lads were lively and we started the game very well. You could see they were hungry to bounce back.
“We passed the ball well in the first half, but we got a little bit impatient at times. We started to try and force it, which was something we talked about at half time.
“Within five minutes of the restart we did that and got the goal. From there we looked really comfortable in the game.”
The Blues now sit on top of the pile, unbeaten in the league so far in this campaign.
“The league table gives the lads something to grip onto and look at,” he told us. “Being at the top of any league is a good feeling and that’s where they want to be.
“They’ve set themselves a target but we’ll just keep taking each game as it comes. If we can be in and around it come the final run in then we’ll have a good go at it from there.
“It’s another busy week for the lads with the Cumberland Cup game on Tuesday, but this is what we want.
“We’re out of two of the youth cups so the Cumberland Cup is something we always want to do well in.”
United v Morecambe – Simons, Ellis, Leslie, Carr, Gordon, Kilsby, Watt (Taylor 70), Garvey, Fishburn, Hardy (Bollado 65), Bell. Subs – Breeze, Hill, Nugent.
Goals – Garvey, Watt.
Booking – Carr.