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Match Reports

Under-18s continue pre-season at Birmingham

15 July 2019

Saturday morning saw the Cheltenham Town under-18s in pre-season action for the second time this season with a trip to Birmingham City.

Having already taken on men's side Sutton Coldfield Town, Pete Haynes' young talents headed to Birmingham to face a Category 1 academy side and missed out on the wrong side of a 2-1 score line.

A trialist got the Robins youngsters goal, and despite the defeat, Haynes was pleased with the improvements his team made on the loss to Sutton Coldfield earlier in the week.

"In terms of overall play and chances, overall we can say we had more chances and more opportunities," he said.

"Progressions from Tuesday were massive in terms of players bravery to stay on the ball and try and dictate play a bit more which is really pleasing.

"Also from a physical point of view into the last 10 or 15 minutes the lads were setting their tempo in terms of how much work they wanted to do, so it's really pleasing to see that physically they're in a really good place and technically and tactically they're really coming on - it was a good second game for pre-season."

Having taken part in a morning kick-off at Birmingham, a number of the under-18s also made up a part of the senior squad in the afternoon for the first team's friendly at Stratford Town.

Aaron Basford, Charlie Stanton, Liam Atwell and Toby Lawrence were all involved with the latter coming on as a substitute, while Grant Horton started for the first team at the Arden Garages Stadium.

The challenges of facing up to a side of their own age compared to the test against non-league Sutton Coldfield also made a difference for the young Robins.

The under-18s are taking on a range of different teams in their pre-season campaign ahead of the new season and Haynes was keen to reiterate the different pressures involved in both types of opponents.

He added: "It was massively different in terms of the psychologial aspect of the game. On Tuesday there was more pressure around dealing with the non-league adult game and the non-league venue and the fans and the elements that come with that. Dealing with those pressures is completely different to going to a Category 1 environment where there aren't those pressures, but the pressures come with playing against internationals and high level academy players.

"I think the lads acquitted themselves brilliantly, played very well, and represented the club extremely well at the same time."

The next pre-season friendly for the under-18s is on Tuesday evening when Slimbridge under-18s are the visitors to the Energy Check Training Ground for a 7pm kick-off.


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