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YOUTH: We played well

Mark Birch with reaction to last weekend's convincing win

11 March 2022

United took their chances as they dominated last weekend’s away game at Port Vale, with a seven-goal haul to show for their efforts come full-time.

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Speaking about the game, youth boss Mark Birch said: “To be fair the lads played really well.

“The only downside is that we didn’t score enough goals from the chances we created. I know that sound a bit daft when you see the final score, but we had some really good opportunities that we didn’t take.

“We want the lads to be ruthless, so if there are points to take from game, they have to take them, even if the overall message is that they’ve played well.

“The good thing is that the players who like to score got goals. Nic Bollado actually played in central midfield, in a deeper role, because we wanted to have all three of our forwards in the team.

“He worked really hard and got his hat-trick as a reward. Sam Fishburn got his goal, Mason Hardy scored two, so that was good to see. You want your front players to be in the right areas because that’s have you win games.”

“What I want them to take away from a game like this is that their standards have to be high at all times,” he added. “We’re trying to teach them about concentration levels and about always been at it, because sometimes when it’s a tight game you’ll get one chance, and it needs to be put away.

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“You don’t want to see players go into a comfort zone, you want them to always be looking for the next block, the next tackle and the next goal.

“There are some big games coming up and if they get a chance when it’s 0-0, they have to have the same level of desire as if they’ve already scored seven.

“They know where they are in the table and the credit they can take at the moment is that they’re just getting on with it. They’re not getting too excited, they just seem to look forward to each game.

“We said to them before the Port Vale game that when you’re up there and competing the next game is always bigger, in terms of what it means with where you are.

“The way to approach the remaining fixtures is to concentrate on winning the next one, then think about the one after that.”

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“We’re in a position at the moment where we can’t really afford to lose a game,” he told us. “If we do, that’s possibly when we start to look forward to next year, but at the moment we must keep the standards high and keep driving on.

“They’re a very level-headed group, so that helps, and everything they’ve done this year has been built on their hard work.

“They know if they keep doing that we’ll always have a chance of winning games. We’ve kept three clean sheets from our last three games and that’s just as pleasing as scoring at the other end.

“The front lads always get plaudits for what they do, and it can sometimes get missed that the lads at the back have played their part by protecting their nets.

“We have no game this weekend so we’ll look to get the under-17s involved in some way in a game, and that gives some of the first-year lads who haven’t had much game time a chance to get out there.

“It gives the under-16s who will be with us next year a chance to play as well, and it keeps everybody ticking over.”

Watch the goals from the game here:

Click HERE for an updated league table and fixture list.

United - Simons, Potts (Allan 70), Kilsby, Carr, Barnett, Ellis, Taylor (Nugent 68), Bollado, Fishburn, Hardy, Bell. Sub – Boyd.

Goals – Bollado (9, 13, 83), Taylor (18), Hardy (22, 66), Fishburn (86).


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