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Interviews

U23s | REACTION: Martin Devaney

26 February 2019

Martin Devaney believes his U23s side should have left Bolton Wanderers with all three points on Monday evening.

Barnsley dominated for much of the first half and perhaps should have had more than a slender one-goal advantage at the interval.

The hosts then struck three times after the break before a brace from Amir Berkovits salvaged a point for the young Reds.

“We missed a lot of chances in the first half and spoke about it at half-time,” admitted Devaney. “In the second half we knew there’d be a bit of an onslaught from Bolton because they’d been poor, and they took their goals really well when they broke.

“We didn’t deal with them on the counter as we would have liked, but to come back and score two goals and keep pushing, for our heads not to drop and to show that mentality to get back into the game and get a point was really pleasing.

“Our attacking play was really good – attacking the spaces, full-backs coming inside, movement, pace and the final ball was good. But it was just in the 18-yard box where we should be finishing and the players were frustrated at the end of the game.

“I’ve said to one or two individuals to put it right in training and focus on finishing so that next time they make sure they score.”

In a topsy-turvy game, the young Reds even had a few chances to snatch what moments earlier appeared to be an unlikely victory.

Trialist forward forced Jake Turner into a fine save down to his left, while Jasper Moon was narrowly beaten to an inviting cross as Barnsley threw caution to the wind.

Elliot Simoes also had a decent opportunity but lost his footing at the vital moment, and Devaney praised his side’s character to grind out a result against the odds.

“We had a chance late on where their goalkeeper has pulled off a good save and then there was a cross where their lad has just got his head to the ball in front of our defender,” continued the U23s coach.

“I’m obviously disappointed that we didn’t win the game, but pleased with how things worked out. In terms of the way we’ve developed the players – the resilience to show grit and a never-say-die attitude is pleasing and holds us in good stead with the players that we’ve got.”

Up next for the young Reds is a trip to Colchester United on Monday evening. The U’s are currently bottom of the Professional Development League South and have suffered back-to-back 4-1 defeats against Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town, respectively.

However, the Eagles and the Tractor Boys occupy the top two spots in that division, and Devaney is anticipating a tricky encounter in Essex.

“It’ll be a tough game because we’re travelling there and back on the day, so that’ll be a challenge for the boys to adapt and prepare right on the bus to be fully focussed because it’ll be a long journey,” continued Devaney.

“We’ve then got a quick turnaround before we play Ipswich, who are the league leaders in the southern league, so that’s two tough games coming up but hopefully we can keep this run going.”


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