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Academy News

Mansfield Town U18 4 Imps U18 1

7 May 2024

Academy News

Mansfield Town U18 4 Imps U18 1

7 May 2024

Sam Tillen was pleased to see a number of younger players make an impact, despite a 4-1 defeat to Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium.

City U18 put in a battling performance on Saturday morning against the recently crowned, Youth Alliance North East Division champions, with a number of players from younger age groups travelling with the squad.

He said: “We came into the game with a different squad to the one we’ve had over the course of the season. We had four shadow scholars, four under 16s and three under 15s. It was a great opportunity and I thought some of them really grabbed the opportunity and took it.

“It was a very young, and inexperienced side at this level but we were very competitive, especially in the first-half. I thought we ended the game pretty well too.

“I thought some of them performed really well, but when you’re young and inexperienced, it’s a learning curve to deal with being 2-0 down and trying to stay in the game.”

City ended the game with a number of U15s and U16s on the pitch, and Tillen thinks the experience they gained against Mansfield will help them going into next season when they make the jump into U18s football.

He added: “I started with the 15s and 16s last summer, and now loads of them have played 18s football. They’ve shown they can make an impact, and that’s great to have going into the summer.

“Mansfield play lots of older players in their 18s, but we try to give young players opportunities and to end with three 15s on the pitch was a real positive.”

After taking over the U18s in January, Tillen guided his side to a 4th place finish in the Youth Alliance, earning a place in the top half for the 2nd league phase. Reflecting on his time in charge, Tillen was happy with the work he’s done so far.

He said: “It will be good to have a pre-season with the group as I only came in halfway through the season. I saw a real upturn in performance and results during the second half of the season, which led to us getting into the top half of the division.

“The lads really engaged with what we were trying to do. They improved their numbers in terms of work rate and their intensity with things such as counter pressing.

“We average over three goals a game, we create a lot of chances and opportunities going forward but we’d like to tighten up a little bit from a defensive perspective.”

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