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16 April 2023



16 April 2023

Nicky Eaden reflected on our U18s’ 4-1 victory away at Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, a result that clinched the Professional Development League title for our young Reds.

An Emmaisa Nzondo brace was added to by a Josiah Dyer header and an own goal, as Eaden’s side claimed an admirable win in their penultimate away trip of the season. 

“It’s a great feeling,” he asserted. “I could sense that the lads had one eye on the Sheffield United result, but yesterday and before the game, I stressed to them that I all I was concerned about was the 90 minutes we had in front of us.

"I wanted a good performance and the three points; we dominated the bulk of the game and came away with maximum points.”

There were many standout performers in Barnsley’s side, one of them being our marauding wing-back, Josh McKay, who was creator in chief as he laid on three goals for his team.

Eaden says he was pleased with the young wing-back’s performance, not just in the attacking third but from a defensive perspective, too.

“I had a quick word with Josh before the game,” he revealed. “I told him we wanted some quality deliveries and some one-on-one defending from him. As a wing-back, those two attributes are good to have, and he showcased them both.

“He was really good at keeping us on the front foot. It’s clear to see that he has a lot of quality and he showed it.”

Despite already claiming their title, our U18s still have two league games to play, with the end-of-season play-offs commencing shortly after, where Eaden believes his side have a great chance of achieving success.

“The play-offs are one-off games,” he stated. “Over the course of the season, we’ve shown that we’re a great side, so I’m confident going into them. We haven’t had too many games where we’ve been poor and even when we haven’t been at our best, we’ve shown that we’re still capable of grinding out results.

“We’ve had to play on a few dodgy pitches throughout the season, especially during winter, where we’ve shown different ways of winning games. However, it was a lovely pitch, and we played some really good stuff. The moves for the four goals were really pleasing and it shows the work that we’ve done in the academy.”

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