Good start for youth team
After two weeks of pre season training our U-18 side began their games programme, which sees them undefeated after three matches.
Youth team manager Alan Walsh has been pleased with progress to date.
“Our first game was against Walsall, which ended 1-1, Donovan Wilson scoring our goal in the first half.
“As expected, both sides were a little bit rusty following the summer break, but we came through it well, but we came through it well. The lads worked hard, and most of them played at least 45 minutes.
“It was the proverbial game of two halves, with Walsall having the better of the first half and us being the better side after the break.
Following that match, the side travelled to play Queens Park Rangers and registered a 3-2 win courtesy of goals from Jamie Lucas, Donovan Wilson and Carlos Barra.
“We took a first half lead and then scored two more after the break though, disappointingly, we conceded two goals from corners late in the game.
“We had controlled things up until that point and I think we simply switched off at the wrong time to concede those goals. Still, it's better to lose goals like that in a friendly game as it gives us a chance to put
things right before the season begins.”
Last Sunday the team played West Bromwich Albion and returned home with a creditable 1-1 draw thanks to another goal from Donovan Wilson.
“We had to sit back a little bit and soak up some pressure and not let them play through us and we did really well for much of the first half.
“I was pleased with our shape and the way we closed them down when not in possession, but when we did win the ball we gave it away too cheaply.
“Neither side created many chances in the first half and the game continued in the same vein after the break, though Albion took the lead just after the hour mark.
“After Donovan’s equaliser we had at least two great chances to take the lead, seeing one effort going wide before their goalkeeper saved a close range header.
“We might have won, but I was pleased with the performance, and how we defended, and how we got the shape of the team right.
“If there is a concern about the three games, it is that we had a tendency to give away possession too easily, though I have to say that all three games provided us with excellent workouts.”
His players were eased back into pre season training before stepping things up.
“We have gradually built up fitness levels and the boys have worked very hard: they are a very fit group of lads and returned for pre season training in good shape.”
Two triallists, full back Mason Winter and midfielder Joe Jones have been involved in the pre season programme and their progress will continue to be monitored, during training and in the games against against Birmingham, Wolves, Portishead, Derby which will be played ahead of the season’s opening fixture on 10th August.
Training has been undertaken at a number of venues over the last few weeks, including Blaise Castle, Portishead (The Hub and the swimming pool).
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of all of those venues, who have gone out of their way to accommodate us.”