BURTON Albion bowed out of the FA Youth Cup to the hands of Aston Villa yesterday, after the young Brewers side already made club history by reaching the fifth round.
Albion came up against a ruthless Aston Villa side at Villa Park, as the Brewers were comfortably beaten 9-0 by a team of future Premier League and international hopefuls.
The Brewers went into the game full of confidence following wins over Worcester, Mansfield, Stoke and Southampton in previous rounds, but the tie proved one step too far for Professional Development Phase Lead Coach Sam Rose’s side.
“The result is tough to take,” said Rose. “The first 15 minutes in particular, because the tie is over at that point.
“It takes serious character to keep going under those circumstances, against a very good side. I know this result will hit some of the lads very hard and I suppose it should because they’re good players and they take pride in their football.
“But it’s important to see the game for what it was and to recognise what we’ve achieved in getting to this point. I’ll be learning from today, and the players will too. There is lots to take from it. We could have been better with and without the ball. I’ve no doubt about that. But we move on.
“It was important that going into the game the group had complete belief. Now we’ve got the opportunity to be objective. There are levels. It’s not always a level playing field and it wasn’t playing against this Aston Villa side. They were better, and they should be.
“We had no right to be in the fifth round and that’s what makes it such a special achievement.
“On a personal note, this cup run has been the highlight of my 10-year coaching career with the club, today included. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a talented group of lads competing at the top, top level, at the coal face as they say.
“I’ve learned so much and it has tested all of us. It’s been a superb challenge, the type you seek as a football coach and we hope we’ve done it justice.
“If we’ve gone some way to raising the profile of the players, the club and of course our academy, then that’s all the success we need.
“We can now refocus and put our full effort and attention in to the next 3 games and look to finish what has been a unique season for us on a high note!”
Dan Robinson, Head of Academy, who watched the game from the stands said: “It’s quite incredible for a club of our size to get to the last 16 of the competition. The only category three club, the only club of our size.
“To come up against a team like that today, a team full of internationals, a team full of players who will be playing at the highest level in the future - but it was just a step to far for our boys today.
“I thought they (Villa) were exceptional. I didn’t think we were as competitive as we had been in previous cup games, but I’m not taking anything away from our lads as they’ve done incredible to get to this stage.
“It’s an achievement for the whole of the club and academy to get to this stage. For the younger players at Burton Albion to see this achievement, it is something to look up to and to inspire to – it gives everyone belief that were doing some great stuff and developing players for the club, whilst have experiences such as this at the same time.”
IMAGES: Courtesy of Sally Rose