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ACADEMY: John Dempster's Sheffield United Reaction

The Under-18s suffered defeat late on...

29 March 2021

Sky Blues Under-18s conceded late on as they had the points snatched from their grasp, losing 3-2 to Sheffield United this past weekend.

It was the second time in a week the 18s faced a side from Sheffield, as they looked to bounce back from a narrow 1-0 loss against Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

Things got off to the perfect start, with the Sky Blues taking the lead twice in the first half after just nine minutes and then regaining the lead in the 21st minute.

The Blades drew level midway through the second half and then snatched all three points in the dying embers of the game, to everyone’s disappointment.

“We lost with the last kick of the game, which was disappointing.” John Dempster said.

“Scoring two good goals away at Sheffield United means we are disappointed not to come away with at least a point. We created some brilliant opportunities which we’d hope to do better with.

“The trialist scored and set one up and the same for Aaron Evans-Harriott. He put in a left foot cross for the first goal and then also finished off a low cross form the trialist.

“So, there were some good goals and it was disappointing to concede three, but we have to move on and prepare for the next game.”

Perhaps one of the positives from Saturday was the two goals scored, having been kept out by Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the week.

However, despite the impressive nature of their attacking play Dempster knows it means nothing if they can’t defend just as well.

“There have only been three games where we have failed to score. We want to be an attacking team and get the players in good areas of the pitch to create and score.

“Today we did that in abundance but unfortunately at the other end we gave away some poor goals with some sloppy defending which in the last few games we haven’t been guilty of.

“Sometimes it is a thankless task as a defender, but the players are learning their roles and responsibilities, the job is to keep the ball out the net first and foremost, anything else is a bonus.

“You can’t fault the players efforts today but there were times through the game where we didn’t defend well enough individually or as a back four.”

Despite back-to-back defeats, Dempster emphasised the importance of learning from these experiences to improve the players as the end of the season approaches.

“It’s all part of the players learning, being able to manage a game in the later stages is pretty important to learn and if we can continue our goalscoring form whilst tightening up at the back with the work we do during the week, we can finish the season strongly.”

Before the end of the season there are a few more games to play including an away trip to Watford on Tuesday. The busy schedule can be unforgiving at times but Dempster believes it will only help the players long-term.

“The Watford game will be our third game in seven days which is a physical challenge that some of the players may not be used to.

“To see how they react to that challenge will be good to see and it is something they need to become used to as the develop in to first team players at whatever level they reach.”

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