Under-18: “We Played With Mature, Tactical Heads”
By David Anderson
The Under-18s came from behind to beat Barnsley 2-1 away from home and continue their perfect start to the season on Saturday (August 24).
On a scorching day in South Yorkshire, the youth team showed maturity and cleverness to recover from a first-half deficit, avoid fatigue and take the three points, according to Lead Coach Simon Clark.
“We played with really mature, tactical heads which is really pleasing at Under-18s,” said Clark. “It was super-hot, but they’ve got to deal with that, that’s the same as inside Vicarage Road. They’ve got to play a little bit smarter because, in the end, Barnsley were absolutely flagging and we looked as if, had the game gone on, we would have scored a third.”
The Hornets went 1-0 down after a direct free-kick was parried out and the defence switched off, but turned the game around thanks to two goals in 15 minutes in the second period.
Rio Campbell had only been on the pitch for two minutes when he equalised just before the hour mark, and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton put the away side ahead shortly after, picking the ball up and skipping past a defender before drilling a shot into the far corner.
“We made a few tweaks at half-time about our first pass and making sure that we were tidier on transition, making sure when we have the ball it’s about passing onto the highest line possible,” said Clark.
“Not only after we equalised did we go on and get the winner, we really took control of the game. We moved the ball, kept the ball and took all the sting out of their reaction to going 2-1 down. That’s good for Under-18s because we’ve understood what it takes away from home to tactically win a game.”
The Under-18s won their first two games 4-0 and 5-1, but Clark was just as impressed with this performance because of the maturity shown by the side.
“When we did go 2-1 up we took complete control and totally nullified their press and their possession,” he said. “We strung together 15, 16, 18 passes to keep the ball and keep them away from our goal, which is really clever when it’s 30 degrees and you’ve been running around for 75 minutes.”
HORNETS: Baptiste (GK), Bloome (Maclean, 55), Conteh, Lawal, Matthews, Burchell, Harrison, Horsewood (Campbell, 55), Thompson, Lo-Everton, McKiernan (Manning, 70).
Subs not used: Evans, Hunter