Sky Blues Under-18s coach Chay Thompson was pleased with the Under-18s performance as they turned out 2-1 winners against Crewe Alexandra in the Professional Development League.
Two first-half goals set the Sky Blues Under-18s on their way in what was a comfortable win against a challenging Crewe Alexandra side.
Following a season hampered by injuries, with players from the Under-16s filling in, the Under-18s find themselves on the brink of the Professional Development League play-off spots with a handful of games to go.
Professional Development Phase Coach Chay Thompson reflected on the performance which saw his side keep on the heels of the table-topping pack.
“We scored two early goals playing against a young Crewe side and it was a different challenge for the players because we were playing against a low block and that’s something we’ve not come up against this season.
“We had to be a little bit more patient, we had a lot of the ball, but could’ve been a little bit better in the final third with our final pass, but overall it was a performance where we had total control.
“Sam Rodber scored one from a well-worked free-kick across goal and he tapped it in and the second one was from Bradley Stretton, who did well in the game, nicked it off the press in the their half and went on to score a good goal.
“We’re disappointed with the goal we conceded because I don’t think we deserved to concede in the match as Crewe didn’t threaten the goal much or have many chances, but it was a pleasing game for the players and at this stage in this season it was what they needed.”
The Railwaymen’s academy is renowned for being one of the best in the country, producing Premier League talent, such as the likes of Burnley FC midfielder Ashley Westwood.
However, Thompson analysed the ‘different challenge’ Crewe posed on the day and how his young side attacked the deeper-lying defence.
“They were young and they some had played in the Under-23s game the day before, so they decided to try and stifle us and sit in a low block. They put eleven men behind the ball which is a good challenge for our players because it’s something we haven’t encountered this season.
“We attacked with more numbers and we needed to get more bodies forward, ahead of the ball, so we spoke about that at half-time and that did make a difference getting more forward and it did help the team.
“We were good in the building phases of the game, but I though we could’ve been better with a little more cleverness in and around the box and the final third.”
A game in-hand on second place, the Sky Blues sit five points behind the current play-off side Barnsley, where they could shorten the gap to two points with a win.
City’s Under-18s have three league games remaining this season, with a PDL cup final also thrown into the mix when they take on Ipswich Town at Portman Road at the end of April.
Thompson’s side face Millwall in their next outing, in what shapes up to be a season-defining clash in East London and he looked ahead to the tie and what he expects for the remainder of the campaign.
“They’ve won six on the bounce, it’s going to be a tough opponent, it’s another game for the players where it’ll be a different challenge.
“We beat them in the PDL semi-final which was a really good game, so we’re looking forward to taking them on again.
“Overall, the individual performances is what we focus on really, but if we can get wins while we’re doing that then we’re in a good place."