U23 Report & Reaction: Coventry City 1-0 Watford
By Kevin Affleck
New signing Adam Parkes showed why the club moved to sign him from Southampton with a very competent display in goal for the Under-23 side this afternoon.
The 19-year-old former England youth international was a professional at St Mary’s and was identified by Academy Goalkeeping Coach Graham Stack as a player who could fill the void left by Sam Howes’ departure on loan to Eastbourne Borough and help ease the burden on Dante Baptiste and James Hoskins, who are doubling up as the ‘keepers for the Under-18s and the Under-23s.
Parkes made his first appearance since signing against Coventry and he pulled off two superb second-half saves, one low to his right and the other a reactionary effort to palm the ball over the bar.
“I thought he was terrific,” said Darren Sarll, the Head of the club’s Academy. “Really terrific. He’s going to be with us for the next three or four months and hopefully a lot longer after that. I thought he played well and he’ll only get better with our training, with our coaching programme and working with Graham Stack. He is going to be a good goalkeeper.”
Parkes could do little about the winning goal on 69 minutes scored by David Bremang, a strike that brought a halt to the Hornets’ two-match winning run in the Professional Development League.
“We haven’t done too much wrong, but that’s football,” said Sarll. “Sometimes you make mistakes and get away with it and sometimes you don’t. In this instance, for the majority of the game it was pretty much all us. I was a bit disappointed in our style of play sometimes. We got frustrated and that happens with young players. I think we got frustrated that we didn’t get the reward for the good things we did. We feel like we were the better side and that we’ve left something behind, we’ve left some points out there.”
Imaad Sankoh and Dan Phillips again put in a shift in midfield, scrapping and working their socks off in a bid to try and get things going from the middle of the park, but it was another first-year scholar who really caught the eye of Sarll.
“I thought a real positive was seeing how Ryan Maclean would cope,” said Sarll of the central midfielder who has played in both full-back positions in recent matches. “He has again shown a good temperament, an intelligence to a role that he looks so comfortable in.
“Every time the likes of Maclean, Imaad and Dom Hutchinson are being exposed to this level, Watford win. I see first-year scholars playing in the 23s like some Academy managers would see if their lads were playing in the first team. They will only be better for playing in these situations. Every time six out of 11 apprentices play in our team and we are competitive, this club is winning. Sometimes we’ll beat QPR, who had seven Championship players, and sometimes you’ll lose to Coventry, who had no Championship players. That’s the way the game goes sometimes.”
HORNETS | Parkes (GK); Maclean, Mukena, Tricker, Leighton; Sankoh, Phillips, Charles (C), Bennetts (Hutchinson 70); Cassidy, Folivi.
Subs not used | Hoskins (GK), Holsgrove, Adebiyi.