The STFC Academy had a busy third day. Everyone visited PSV Eindhoven’s Philips Stadium for a ground tour and got to take a look behind the scenes at what goes on a match day at a stadium graced by the likes of Sir Bobby Robson and Brazilian strikers Romario and Ronaldo in the past.
After the visit to the stadium, we made the short trip to the training facilities of PSV, where we played against their academy sides: the highlight of the week.
As Academy Manager I have been working with the U10s all week. We went into the game with lots of positivity and encouraged the 10s to play and enjoy the opportunity at all times. Swindon went into the lead through Landon Goulding and looked very strong with a good tempo. We then conceded a goal when in possession and, at this level, we got punished. We then re-took the lead through a good passing phase involving Harry Parsons before a great cross from Dan Farrow was powered home by Landon Goulding, taking his tally to four goals this week.
We then went on to hit the crossbar on two different occasions but we conceded two goals very quickly by not retaining the ball in good areas and were caught out by good players being in good possession. PSV’s ‘keeper made some good saves from Goulding and Parsons to deny Swindon scoring again. PSV scored another to make the result 4-2 but all the players got some game time and could say that they played against PSV which was a positive.
We were very pleasing for the first period, then we just lacked a little bit of quality in certain areas. Having said this, we were playing against one of the best academies in Holland and, although there were some negatives, there were lots of positives from this game.
The under 11s made a fantastic start to their game against PSV by taking a two-goal lead inside the first 25 minutes. Excellent play from the team and individual strikes by Ruben Soonsup-Bell and Rhys Wells ensured we finished the period strong. With the players tired from their previous three games it was testament to their stamina and application for them to play in the right way from the start with some slick passing and movement, which required high levels of energy.
The second and third periods were a bridge too far as PSV dominated the game with our players running on empty and PSV's youngsters showing their class in what was a great football lesson. Our players dug in and although Levi made and scored a penalty we eventually ran out of steam and lost 10-3.
With the result immaterial, the lads acquired significant experience against excellent opposition and one of Europe's leading Academy set ups. They should all be proud of their efforts.Man of the Match went to Edward Golder, although everyone played their part.
Town U12s gave their all but were also on the losing side as the match finished 5-0.
Possession was limited against a team who were excellent at keeping the ball across the back and building into midfield. Town tried to stop them playing but ultimately individual ability and defensive lapses from corners cost them. The closest Town came to scoring was through Man of the Match Frankie Grieveson: firstly from a free header at the far post and then again in the second half hitting the bar from a dipping volley.
The U12s took a lot from the game playing against very good opposition.
We have our final games today when we play FC Emma in Dordrecht. We will train this morning before all the players will have individual reviews to give them a report of their week.