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Youth Team

Fensome Hails Youth Team Response

29 April 2018

Youth team defender Lewis Fensome was pleased by the young Lilywhites’ response as they came from a goal down to beat Shrewsbury Town 5-2 in the final league match of the season.

North End’s youngsters trailed at half-time but a much-improved second-half performance saw them run out resounding winners for the second time this week, having also beaten Oldham Athletic 6-2 in midweek.

The second-year scholar said the turnaround was down to the players trusting themselves and each other in possession as they looked to overturn Shrewsbury’s 20th minute opener.

“I thought we were pretty poor in the first-half, especially in the first 20 minutes,” the 18-year-old told “In the first ten minutes, we weren’t really trusting each other enough on the ball and we panicked a little bit.

“Once we got the ball down and started playing properly and playing it through them, we knew we would always have a few chances.

“We said at half-time that once we did that and we deserved the right to play, that we were always going to get chances through them. Once we calmed down and played ourselves into the game, that definitely played in our favour in the second-half.

“The midfield players needed to try to get into the game by playing shorter and picking up the second balls. We said that if we could do what did in the second-half in the last game against Oldham and get the ball down, then we should be able to create more chances.

“It's not the way we’ve wanted to start games by conceding the first goal, but we’ve scored eleven goals in the last two games now, which is really good. Coming from behind again definitely shows what these lads will be about next year.”

Fensome is now approaching the end of his scholarship and reflecting on the whole season on both an individual and collective level, he feels it’s been a positive one.

“After the first couple of games at the start of the season, I thought we had a good chance of going on to push for the league title. We had a little dip in the middle of the season and lost a few lads to injury.

“Apart from maybe the Tottenham game in the FA Youth Cup, I don’t think we’ve ever had a full, fit starting eleven playing consistently and I don’t think we’ve had the same starting eleven playing in consecutive weeks too often, which has been unfortunate.

“It’s been a long year for me, especially as I didn’t play much last year with my injury, but it’s been a year which I’ve learnt a lot from, both good and bad.

“The two months at Lancaster City [on work experience towards the end of 2017] definitely helped me, especially playing games back to back on Saturdays and Tuesdays. That’s one of the biggest things I always tell people, that playing regularly and having five games in a month is massive.

“Overall, it’s been a positive season and we’ve scored a lot of goals now to the end of the season and I think that’s something the first-year scholars can take into next season.”

There is still one game remaining for North End’s youngsters, a Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup final against Wigan Athletic, and Fensome is hoping that can provide a fitting end to the campaign.

“It would be something to remember because a lot of the lads had the memorable experience of playing in the FA Youth Cup last year.

“Obviously, I was a part of that in terms of being in the squad, but I wasn’t playing a part because of my injury, so to be playing in most of this games in this competition [Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup] and then hopefully to go on and win the final would be really nice.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the final. It’s against Wigan who we’ve played three times this season, we’ve lost 3-0 twice and won the other game 3-0. I think this game is about getting one over on them and showing that we are just as good as them. A cup final is very exciting and hopefully we can end on a high.”

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