We’re getting ourselves into areas where we know if we take that into other games now, we’ll score a lot of goals.
Blues Under-23s were unfortunate to fall to a narrow defeat at Bolton Wanderers last night in a PDL2 fixture.
Blues enjoyed the bulk of possession and created numerous chances – five shots on target compared to Bolton’s one – but in the end they couldn’t cancel out Aaron Wilbraham’s seventh minute strike for the hosts.
But Under-23s assistant coach Paul Robinson, who was on the sidelines alongside Senior Development Coach Richard Beale, was hugely encouraged by the youngsters’ display and their level of commitment.
“It was an excellent performance from the lads,” he said. “From the word go, what we wanted was tempo, to be in their faces and not give them time on the ball – and they did exactly that.
“Obviously football is about winning games, but to lose in the way that we did, with the attitude and desire to take the game to them, was still pleasing because I thought the lads were excellent.
“After the defeat against Nottingham Forest (on Friday), when our first-half performance was disappointing with the goals we conceded, we wanted the players to go and perform for the whole 90 minutes, rather than just one half. Lat night was a prime example of the players being how we want them to be."
Wilbraham – one of three experienced over-age players on show for the hosts, who also included Stephen Darby and Derik – prodded home from Jeff King’s free-kick, after Blues failed to clear the danger, for the game's only goal.
Robinson admitted: “From our point of view it was a sloppy goal to give away and we could have dealt with it a lot easier.
“But we had a reaction from that, we went straight on the attack again and caused them problems throughout the night.”
Nicolai Brock-Madsen had the best opportunity to equalise in the first-half, peeling away from his marker at a set-piece to get through on goal, the big Dane firing narrowly wide.
The visitors also had other opportunities in what was overall a very positive performance.
“We created a lot of chances – Brock had a header in the second-half that just went wide and there were balls going across their six-yard box and our players weren’t quite pushing themselves enough to get in the right areas to put it in the back of the net.
“Football is fine lines, but the pleasing thing for me and Richard (Beale), was that we’re getting ourselves into areas where we know if we take that into other games now, we’ll score a lot of goals.
“And you have to remember that some of the lads on the pitch were 17 – the oldest players on the pitch were probably Brock and Cogs (Josh Dacres-Cogley).”
Robinson reserved praise for left-back Steve Seddon – one of two players (along with Remeao Hutton) to feature in all 17 competitive Under-23s fixtures this term.
“Steve has again stepped up to the mark. He has trained with the First Team and been very impressive this season,” added the Blues player-coach.
“He’s very strong going forward and defensively his one-v-ones are excellent. He’s improving all the time, every time I watch him he’s very good. He’s someone that we could say has got a great future ahead of him.
“But, the team effort, all together as a group, was fantastic last night.”
Blues Under-23s: Jake Weaver; Remeao Hutton, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Josh Martin, Steve Seddon; Corey O’Keeffe, Charlie Lakin; Louis Walsh (t) (Dominic Bernard 60); Beryly Lubala, Olly McCoy, Nicolai Brock-Madsen.