Adam Murray could not hide his delight following Barnsley U18s emphatic 7-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
Kieran Feeney and Tommy Willard both scored twice for the young Reds, while there were also goals for Trialist, Jordan Helliwell and Brad Binns in his first competitive game for nine months after returning from injury.
“I’m really pleased with the victory,” said Murray. “I think, over the course of the season, we’ve put in some really good performances and not got the results that we’ve deserved. So to get the win in the emphatic style that we did is really pleasing.
“We’ve been working on a certain way of playing – a certain style – and that victory has been coming. There has been a lot of hard work from the players and the coaching staff, so to round it off with a 7-1 victory is fantastic.”
The win sees Barnsley move further clear Hull City at the foot of the table, who were beaten 4-2 by Leeds United at the weekend.
However, despite the positive result, Murray was eager to stress that the primary focus is player development as oppose to the eventual score line.
“At the level we’re at and the environment we’re in, not everything is based on winning; we’re about development,” continued the U18s coach. “We’ve picked up a few draws this season or lost by the odd goal where there have been minor errors, but that result has been coming.
“The performance and the process that we’re on, for some of the individuals and the team, has been a work in progress. We always felt that, eventually, this kind of result would pop up and it’s important for us now to get a bit of consistency in the way that we go about things in terms of performances, and hopefully that kind of score line will be a regular thing.”
Development has been plain to see for Murray and Tom Harban’s fledgling group, with several featuring regularly for Martin Devaney’s U23 side, while Feeney, Helliwell and Jasper Moon were on the bench for the first team’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Oldham Athletic.
It’s a common theme that runs through the various age groups at Oakwell, with Kareem Hassan-Smith and Aiden Marsh making a seamless transition from U16 to U18 football.
“We’ve got some good lads in the building at the moment – it’s not just the under 18s and 23s,” insisted Murray. “There are some under 16s who have been playing with us and we’ve had a number of our players who have been with the under 23s or involved in the first team squad on the bench, which is always nice.
“But it’s about the process; there’s a real philosophy in place here and it’s enjoyable to coach and implement. I think the players enjoy it; it comes down from the first team – it’s very high energy, a lot of pressing, an aggressive way of playing and attacking style of football, which is always pleasing to coach and the players are really thriving in this environment.
“The future is bright, there’s a lot of hard work to do, but I think we’re on the right track.”