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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE U18s 3 Burton Albion U18s 2

10 December 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: PNE U18s 3 Burton Albion U18s 2

10 December 2023

Preston North End’s emphatic 3-2 comeback against Burton Albion Academy at Springfields saw them progress to the Northern quarter-final of the Youth Alliance Cup.

After going two goals down, the turnaround was started in the second half through Theo Mawene’s deflected shot and then North End drew level when Kacper Pasiek’s header was converted.

Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile made it three in the 87th minute which helped his team take all three points and top Group B.

Within the first 40 minutes, it was end-to-end football, but Andy Fensome’s side fell behind in the 43rd minute as the Brewers were able to score with a shot from distance.

North End found themselves two goals down inside six second-half minutes, but, after showing great mentality midweek against Coventry City by coming back in extra-time to take that tie all the way to penalties, PNE U18s repeated that same fighting spirit in this match.

Mawene – the No.8 – picked up a loose ball within the box and shot towards goal, and it was deflected into the back on the net.

Fenners and his coaching staff made some critical changes, bringing on Izac Khan and Theo Carroll, who became heavily involved in the remaining goals.

A free-kick was awarded in the 75th minute just by the edge of the box and it was whipped in by goalscorer Mawene, and it met the head of Pasiek, whose powerful header proved unstoppable to level the fixture.

In the dying moments of the game, the U18s were able to create something special and Rodriguez-Gentile got on the end of it. A composed finish in the 87th minute by the young Argentine sent his side into the knockout stages of the Youth Alliance cup.

Speaking after the game, John Welsh had high praise for his side’s mentality in the second half: “As a coaching staff, we are proud of the lads.

“It has been a really tough week. They took in lots of information and lots of meetings leading up to Wednesday’s game against Coventry and then obviously the physical side of doing the game and playing extra-time, they were phenomenal.

“We painted the picture that today was a must-win game for the boys in terms of the cup. It is a league format and so they knew they had to win the game to go through to the knockout stages. So, we are all proud of their mentality.

“Also, the application from the lads this week has been unbelievable, especially today.

“They showed immense character after looking down and zapped of energy at times, particularly in the first half and start of the second half, and then to go and change it round and score three to win is a massive credit to the boys."

Mawene, who was involved in the first two goals, said: “It is good to get the win, that was the main focus today. Our attitude that got us back into it was brilliant.

“The goals were maybe scrappy and maybe weren’t the best goals, but the ball is in the back of the net so that is all that matters.

“It’s a big thing when you can score goals and contribute to the team’s win, but at the end of the day I’m just trying to learn as much as I possibly can from every game.

“I think it is great that we won today because it just gives us another opportunity to win and play more games this season.”

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