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21 November 2021

Speaking after our U18s’ loss against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, Tom Harban expressed his disappointment with the result, but was proud of his players’ application.

The Owls took the lead in the 21st minute and scored a late second which resigned the Reds to defeat, despite having a plethora of chances throughout the game.

“It’s disappointing really,” said Harban.

“First half we were nowhere near our standards, I thought we were really loose on the ball. We said before that Sheffield Wednesday will wait for us to make mistakes and they’re dangerous on the counter-attack.

“Their first goal comes from a mistake in the middle of the park and they break. We’ve still got to defend it better, close the space down, close the shots down, but on the whole first half we were just miles off where we’ve been.”

At half-time Harban and Bobby Hassell changed the shape of the young Reds, a move which allowed us to be more threatening going forward.

We created plenty of opportunities but just lacked that cutting edge in the final third as our nine-game unbeaten run came to an end.

“I thought after that we were miles better; I thought we dominated the game second half, we got in the final third on loads of occasions,” continued our U18s coach.

“Again though, we’ve just spoke in there, about the quality when we’re in there, people’s desire to get in the box, desire to go and get on the end of a cross – we put some good balls in there. So, second half, can’t fault the effort, the desire to try and get into the game and then it’s one of them.”

The Owls got their second right at the death after the Reds piled men forward in search of an equaliser.

Harban urged his players to learn from this game and use it as motivation in the future.

“We’re pushing, we’re pushing, we’re pushing, and then we get hit on the counter, really, on a mistake again for their second,” he discussed.

“But we tried to throw the kitchen sink at it to get something out of the game. Overall, I’m disappointed from where we’ve been, but the lads have got to learn from these setbacks and look to improve.”

This defeat means the Reds are leapfrogged in the table by Wednesday, who climbed to the top of the Professional Development League.

However, it’s still early days in the season and nothing is decided yet according to Harban.

“League tables, they’re there,” he admitted. “They’re celebrating at the end because they were second and gone top. But these lads have been on an unbelievable run, nine unbeaten in league and cup.

“I’ve just said, when you get a punch on the chin, you’ve got to learn to pick yourself back up and go again and get yourself back to what they were doing before.”

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