JEREMY Newton continues his diary from the Academy tour of Holland
Swindon Town’s under 15s played the second game of their Holland tour against AZ Alkmaar. We passed their stadium which was nice to see and the reserve team were playing on the pitch outside. Their Academy is based just up the road in full view of the stadium. This is so their players can visualize the aim of playing in the stadium.
The game kicked off and we started ok. We tried to pass the ball but we were under pressure from the start and didn't really get into any rhythm. At times we weren’t able to maintain possession once we regained it. AZ Alkmaar took the lead in the 13th minute. Jake Evans was caught in possession and they punished us with a good counter attack. Their player fired a good shot across keeper Johns to score. We then got some joy down the flanks with Fenton and Johnson causing some problems. Tyreke Johnson scored for the Town when he followed up a Tom Farrelly shot to tap in on 21 minutes. We then conceded again on the half-hour which was poor on our part.
We made a change at the start of the second half with Aiden Compton coming on to replace the injured Jack Richardson. This gave us a spark and a bit more of a threat. Sadly we conceded a third goal when we didn't clear our lines. There was a horrible ricochet and the ball fell perfectly to the AZ player who made no mistake. We then made some more changes with Jabari Hylton, Callum Gunner, Jack Stanners, Jordan Young, and Matthew Brown getting some important match minutes. Before the end there was another unfortunate moment when Callum Gunner failed to clear and the ball went straight to an opposition player to clinically finish, making the final score 4-1.
I can’t say that I was overly pleased with the performances: we weren't strong enough in possession and conceded possession too easily across the field. Against top quality sides like AZ Alkmaar, they will punish you and won't give you a second chance. It's a harsh and important lesson to learn for the players and one that they will hopefully learn quickly.
We are fortunate that we have another game this evening. Last night we had a light recovery session then we looked back at the game and did some analysis. One positive from the game was that we had six under 14s playing with the under 15s. This will help with their development and long term plan. We did however pick up another injury with Nathan Marks coming off with a calf problem. He was assessed this morning by the medical team.
All age groups will play against FC Gravenzande tonight with a 6pm kick off.