THE Burton Albion under 18s made it two victories from two Youth Alliance games this year as the Brewers overcame Bradford City 2-0 at St George's Park.
Rueben Lal opened the scoring after bundling home a flick-on from Jake Davies in the first half, while Reece Hutchinson followed-up his hat-trick against Rotherham with a well-placed finish after stealing the ball in the Bradford half.
The young Brewers are unbeaten in their last four games, including draws against Derby County and Bolton Wanderers. Professional Development Phase Lead Coach Sam Rose was pleased with the performance and attitude of the team in their win.
“We are really pleased with the attitude of the players. It is an encouraging run of form that the boys are on at the moment. They are playing with confidence and belief at the moment.
“Bradford are a very good team when you let them flow and have some time on the ball. So, our game-plan was very much to set-up a high press and not give them time to play. That takes a bit of organisation and understanding from the boys, they need to be talking to each other, and above all else they need to be hardworking and willing to run, chase and press. The lads did all of those things today.”
Lal and Thomas Armitage both played the full-90 minutes. The players will be joining up with the under 18s side full-time next season, and Rose is pleased with the impact that both players made against the Bantams.
He said: “We are going to keep trying to put under 16s in the team and give them opportunities to play. Rueben is still only 15 and he has come in today to play on the right side of a back three and he was outstanding, really, he defended really well against some talented players that Bradford have got. Tom showed a lot of energy getting forward from left wing-back, beating people, defending 1v1, joining in with attacks and then getting back to defend. It is exactly what we want to see from young players coming in.”
After the game, Lal and Armitage both reflected on the win over Bradford.
Armitage said: “I think that we stuck to the game-plan well, with the high pressing and it paid off really well with Reece’s (Hutchinson) goal. Bradford liked to push their wing-backs forward, so it was more if a wing-back vs. wing-back situation, but we stayed compact and fought the battle well.”
Lal said: “It was difficult because it was one-on-one a lot of the time, so we had to be switched on. We had to make sure that we communicated well and cover for each other. Ollie (Fairbrother, goalkeeper) was good because he was telling us where to be, how to tackle and where to position ourselves. It was a successful day and I am glad that we got the win.”