Kian Smart thought Preston North End U18s put in one of their best performances of their season in a 4-3 home win against Walsall on Tuesday.
In a topsy-turvy but open game, Smart and midfield colleagues Oscar O’Neil and Melle Meulensteen had the space to demonstrate their vision and creativity, leading to the attacking spectacle on show.
“I think that’s one of the best matches we’ve played all season because we just moved the ball as quickly as we could,” the first-year scholar said. “It was a good game and it was end-to-end stuff.
“Obviously, there were a lot of goals and we leaked a few at the start, but we got to grips with the game and ended up winning it.
“It was so end-to-end that you did get more space at times, but they were tight defensively as well. It was a good game for both sides, both midfields got a lot of time and got to do with some good stuff with the ball.”
North End were 2-3 down at the break after conceding twice late in the first-half and Smart explained how the team had to change in the second period, as well as acknowledging that there was room for improvement in some elements of the display.
“We just said [at half-time] that the defending wasn’t good enough but the forward play was good, so if we could cut out the poor defending and focused more on the attack then we’d get back into it.
“We were creating chances anyway but leaking goals at the other end so thankfully we scored the goals. I thought we could have played better to score more but I also thought we could have played better defensively as well, but overall we’re happy.
“They didn’t really get too near to us in the first-half but ended up scoring at the end which obviously made a difference, but in the second-half again it was so open and it could have gone either way.”