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Head of Youth pleased with Academy Cup performance

By Bradley Saxton | 25th November 2021

York City Head of Youth Development Dan Wilson was pleased with the U19’s performance against South Shields despite exiting the National League Academy Cup 1st Round on penalties.

The Young Minstermen fell behind to a South Shields opener after 17 minutes at the 1st Cloud Arena, but Josh Knowles levelled the game minutes before half-time. Neither side could find a winner in the second half, before the home side defeated the Minstermen 4-3 on penalties to advance to the next round of the competition. 

It’s the second time this season that the Young Minstermen have been defeated on penalties against South Shields, having been beaten by the North East side in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Qualifying Round last month.  

Speaking after the full-time whistle, Wilson told us how pleased he was with the performance having dug deep to get back into the game.

“The cup competitions are the ones that you want to do well in and we really wanted to get into the next round, get a home tie which could have allowed the lads to play a game at the LNER Community Stadium,” said Wilson. 

“Unfortunately, it won’t be this year, sadly it went to penalties where it becomes a bit of a lottery for both sides. 

“On reflection of the game I thought that the boys were excellent, they competed and created lots of chances.  

“We limited South Shields to very few chances and I couldn’t really have asked any more of the boys out there today, especially after making a couple of changes to personal and shape.” 

The U19’s started the game with three centre halves, which Wilson thought worked well after Elliot Owen returned to the starting eleven following a spell out injured.  

“The formation change was down to a few things, partially on how South Shields played which we wanted to keep them pressed high up the pitch and not allowing them to play through the centre, but also Elliot (Owen) coming back in today has also given us a really big headache,” added Wilson. 

“He’s fit again and it would have been really tough to take either Ben (Dale) or Lewis (Cunningham) out today as I think they have both been excellent over the past few weeks.  

“It would have been really hard to leave Elliot out too as he has been excellent as well before he suffered his injury.  

“It’s a shape we know and that we have played before, especially a shape that the second-year scholars and the first-year pro’s know so we didn’t see the formation change as a massive risk or a massive change.” 

Wilson was also handed a boost ahead of kick off, as Knowles returned from injury to feature upfront for the Minstermen, having missed last week’s National League Alliance U19 Academy North defeat to Chesterfield. The Head of Youth spoke in delight about his performance after the striker netted another goal for the season. 

He said: “The goal that Josh (Knowles) took was excellent, he gets a lot of chances but what we were really pleased about today was his work rate.  

“Off the ball as well he was great, he stopped South Shields playing out from the back and he won the ball back in the final third so many times. 

“If he continues to add goals as well, then I’m sure that he is in for a good future.” 

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