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Club News

Rochdale U18s 5-2 PNE U18s

28 November 2015

Club News

Rochdale U18s 5-2 PNE U18s

28 November 2015

A number of North End youngsters tasted their first experience of U18 football with a 5-2 away defeat to Rochdale.

Academy boss Nick Harrison decided to rest a number of regulars with Tuesday’s third round FA Youth Cup tie against Carlisle in mind.

Harrison made a total of eight changes from the side that lost against Burnley last time out with Callum Roberts in goal, Lewis Fensome in defence, and Josh Earl in midfield the only players keeping their place from last week.

Captained by Adam Joseph Robinson, the North End youngsters more than held their own for the majority of the game and were winning the tie with just 20 minutes to go thanks to goals from Leon Creech and Alex Wood.

But in the final quarter, the hosts applied the accelerator, scoring four goals in 15 minutes to claim the spoils at Radcliffe Borough.

“We had a really young team out there today,” told the U18s coach.

“We decided to rest quite a few players for the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday so we had a group of lads who haven’t really played together before, and a lot of U16s in the starting line-up and on the bench.

“I thought overall, despite the result at the end, they did really well.

“To go 2-1 in front and for it to be 2-2 with 10 minutes to go with such a young team, we’re delighted with that.

“Once their third goal went in, I think that affected the young lads a lot and they crumbled a little bit at the end which is why the score line says 5-2.”

Dale drew first blood with a goal just after nine minutes but the Lilywhites levelled proceedings thanks to Leon Creech who latched onto Josh Earl’s cross to slide the ball home just before the half hour mark.

North End were in front for much of the second half thanks to Alex Wood’s goal on 50 minutes, and looked odds on to getting something from the game.

But with 15 minutes left, a youthful North End outfit’s inexperience began to show as Dale scored four goals without reply seeing them record a 5-2 victory.

On how the game panned out, Harrison added: “It’s a great learning curve for them and that’s what we’ve been telling them in the dressing room.

“For 80 minutes, we’ve performed very well and could have got a draw out of the game but what they’ve got to do is learn from those little mistakes.

“If they switch off or lose a bit of concentration at this level they’ll get punished because the higher up you go, and the older the players you play against, the more ability they have to punish you, but the young lads can learn from it and can take it into their own games.

“I think it was a testament to the group of players on the pitch that they found themselves 2-1 in front - they worked really hard to get to that point.

“it’s just a shame for them that they’ve lost the game but they’ve got to keep going and keep the belief with what they are doing because they are good players - they’ve just got to learn from that last 10 minutes of the game because that’s the difference between school boy football and youth football.”

Attention now turns to the FA Youth Cup for Harrison’s squad with a trip to Cumbria to take on fellow North West Youth Alliance side Carlisle United on Tuesday, and after today’s match, Harrison admits his players have given him and his coaching team something to ponder going into the game in two days’ time.

“We’ve got a squad together for Tuesday,” he continued - "but we’re still making decisions on the starting 11 and who’ll be in it.

"We wanted to see the lads today perform to see whether they could stake a claim for the squad as well so we’ve rested quite a few, but our decisions could be made over the next few days and we’re really looking forward to the game on Tuesday now.”

Supporters are welcome to come and cheer the boys on this Tuesday against Carlisle at Brunton Park with ticket prices at £3 for adults, £1.50 for concessions, and free entry for U16s.

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