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Report: Blues Under-18s 2 Barnsley Under-18s 2

The boys showed great character, coming from behind twice and I thought we stood up to what was a physical onslaught at times.

Mike Dodds

Blues Under-18s extended their unbeaten run to three games in a scrappy affair at the Trillion Trophy Training Centre.

Having fallen behind twice in the game, goals from Amari Miller and George Hall helped fire the hosts level to earn a deserved share of the spoils.

As a spectacle, the game won’t last long in the memory as howling winds and rain made life difficult for either side to take control of the contest.

Mike Dodds felt the draw was a fair result and praised his players for standing up to the challenging conditions and physical threat that Barnsley posed.

“It was far from pretty and I don’t think it would have been an enjoyable watch but this same group have been in those situations before and folded - today they didn’t,” Dodds explained. “To their credit, the boys stuck at it and although I don’t feel like we did enough to win the game we certainly deserved something from it.

“I just didn’t feel, at any point in the game, like we had any real control which is unlike us but then, neither did Barnsley.

“I think the conditions made it difficult to get any patterns of play going and for anyone to really get a foothold in the game.

“But the boys showed great character, coming from behind twice and I thought we stood up to what was a physical onslaught at times.”

Blues fell behind on the half hour mark but managed to restore parity through Amari Miller. Kieran Wakefield was the beneficiary of a loose pass in the Barnsley backline and after quicky latching onto the ball, he slid Miller in on goal who cut inside and converted confidently past the ‘keeper.

Barnsley went ahead for the second time after Blues failed to clear a deep corner into the box where the ball was eventually bundled over the line – a scrappy goal which typified the match.

The lead lasted just a minute.

Josh Williams showed great pace and power down the Blues right before cutting the ball back to George Hall. The first year scholar controlled neatly inside the box and fired home to put Blues back on level terms.

The game then became fast and frenetic and although both sets of players exhibited plenty of effort, neither side could find the quality to decide the game.

“It’s not always going to be pretty and perfect so the players have to find a way to deal with those types of games,” added Dodds.

“We had worked on a lot during the week that we couldn’t execute in the game but we didn’t go under which I am pleased with.

“Particularly with the younger lads, George Hall, Kieran Wakefield and Callum Sullivan.

“Barnsley are a big side, all of them were second years so they were that bit more experienced and definitely physically more developed than our boys.

“And the first years didn’t get overpowered, they stood up to the test which I’m really pleased with.”

It’s now just one defeat in eight for Dodds’ youngsters who will be looking to avenge the only blotch on the record when they travel to Sheffield United in a weeks time.

“It’ll be another tough one next week,” he warned. “We know what to expect from Sheffield United, they’ll be powerful, they get in your face, and they try to put you under pressure.

“We have enough quality to cause them problems of our own so we’ll prepare properly this week and look forward to that one.

“This period coming up is always difficult for the smaller technicians in the group, when the pitches aren’t great and the football can become ugly at times.

“But the onus is on us to find ways to solve that problem.”

Blues: Mayo (Brooks 40), Williams, Sullivan, Craig, Noakes, Hall, Chang, Wakefield, Walker, Miller, Browne

Not Used: Fogarty, James, Patterson, Nguepissi

Goals: Miller, Hall

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