U18s in Cheltenham victory
February 26, 2019
Lead Development Phase Coach Tom Parrinello gave us his account of the game…
“After the bitterly disappointing result and particularly performance away at Newport County on the 16th of February, it was a great opportunity for the boys to show a much-improved performance and try to claim our first 3 points of the Merit League.
“During the week’s preparation, we had spoken a lot about displaying better mental characteristics that we as staff and the players felt they failed to show last week, which was a major reason why they lost the game.
“The ability to show mental toughness and resilience and having the ability to not only deal but thrive under pressure is something we have admittedly struggled with all season in all honesty and it is something as a group of staff we really want to focus on for the second half of the season, because as these players get older and hopefully move up the ladder within the football club they are going to have to be psychologically a lot better to cope with the environment they will potentially be in.
“They trained extremely well Thursday and Friday and that translated into Saturday’s performance. In spells they were absolutely terrific. Some excellent free-flowing forward play, with lots of purpose and intent to get on the front foot, but also showed good composure and decisions to build up the play when it wasn’t on to play forward quickly, which is something we had been working on.
“We started very well with lots of early pressure against an awkward, physical and direct Cheltenham side whose only threat seemed to be set pieces or from a direct ball forward. We missed a couple of chances before deservedly taking the lead 4 minutes before half time. Ollie Hulbert found Lucas Tomlinson who drove with the ball and sliced open Cheltenham’s back 4 with a fantastic slide. Sam Heal latched on and squared it across to Harry Warwick for a tap in. Warwick’s 15th goal in 17 games this season.
“The start of the second half was scrappy and the visitors made it very stop-start and disrupted the game very well. They equalised from a hopeful punt forward which we didn’t deal with well enough. Having the majority of the ball and play the boys showed those traits we had spoken about during the week. Character to get on the ball under pressure.
“Resilience to keep plugging away even during those scrappy moments during the game and the confidence to believe that they would still win the game. Deep into the 3rd minute of stoppage time, Luca Hoole found Zain Walker who skipped past one challenge and slipped it wide to Lucas Tomlinson. He drove at the full back and cut in, and with the help of a slight deflection bent one into the far corner of the net past the keeper for a dramatic, but thoroughly deserved 3 points. It was nothing less then the player deserved for the work rate and commitment they showed, and the togetherness and unity the boys showed to stick together and get each other through it was something they should all be proud of.
“That was a true reflection of their capabilities and all the things we had asked them to do before the game in terms of not only technical/tactical but psychologically as well, they did consistently well which is why the not only won the game but played very well in doing so. The challenge now is for consistency, something again this season which we have failed to do on a week to week basis, but all in all a fantastic way to win the game right at the end after an excellent performance. Lucas Tomlinson & Luc Noble in particular were magnificent.”