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U18'S: Macca Pleased With Battling Qualities Of His Young Reds

Young Reds Defeated Oxford On Saturday

15 January 2018

Swindon Town U18's Boss Alan McLoughin praised the collective effort put in by his team during the 1-0 win against Oxford United on Saturday.

Sol Pryce scored the only goal of the game to secure the bragging rights for his side, and McLoughlin was happy with how his side adapted against their local rivals.

"It is important to be competitive against your local rivals," he told

"We played them earlier in the season and we should have won the game, we drew 3-3 and I was disappointed because we had so many chances to kill the game off but we didn't.

"Saturday wasn't as good a game in terms of our quality but we had six First-Year Scholars in the Starting XI, so for them to perform against a Oxford side heavily leaden with Second-Years and one or two Third-Years was a really good result in terms of our application. 

"The first ten-minutes saw us on the back-foot and we didn't start so well but, once we got a hold of the game, we kept hold of the ball very well at times and we had a good shape and structure to what we were doing.

"We didn't really threaten in the last third all game though which was a bit disappointing, but they didn't really cause us too many problems. 

"Our Second-Years, the more experienced of our players, held the team together at times which was good. 

"We then made some changes and we just stayed in the game. We introduced two sixteen-year-olds into the fray who did very well and it just shows the little bit of strength we have at the moment in all areas of the Academy.

"The team worked together right from the first whistle until the very end and that persistence, that endeavour and that willingness to compete with Oxford kept us in the game in terms of denying them chances.

"They had more corners, they had more forward play but it is about taking chances and Sol Pryce was in the right place at the right time to follow a shot in and it was a mistake from the keeper with his handling.

"Sometimes you can't win games by playing fantastic football, sometimes you need to work as a team and as a man and work for each other and that's what they did on Saturday against an older and more experienced side. I was very pleased with the result."

Alan McLoughlin

"We saw the game out but Oxford came out and we relied on our keeper heavily, with Archie Matthews making a fantastic save one-on-one to keep the score at 1-0.

"Joe Romanski fell awkwardly on his knee and Jay Digweed, who hasn't had as much game time as some of the others this season, came on and was fantastic. 

"Harry Drag, another player who hasn't featured as much in terms of game time compared to others, did very well in the game as well. 

"I said to the players that I can't remember being beat as a player against Oxford during my time here at Swindon and it is important that you have that same level of commitment and attitude.

"Sometimes you can't win games by playing fantastic football, sometimes you need to work as a team and as a man and work for each other and that's what they did on Saturday against an older and more experienced side.

"I was very pleased with the result."

And Macca went on to outline what he expects from his players for the remainder of the season following an impressive first-half of the 2017/18 campaign.

"It is difficult because decisions will have to be made on our Second-Years and the First-Years will have to step up to the plate," he added.

"They are young kids and they are going to make mistakes but we're currently sitting second in the league and we want to finish as high as we can.

"Bournemouth have got a couple of games in hand on us but we play Exeter who are top, we play Bournemouth as well and Plymouth.

"We need to carry on as we are. We are going to introduce more 16-year-olds into the fray because we have selected our intake of Scholars, so they will be partaking in games. 

"It is a push for the Second-Years and the First-Years now to know that there are some very good 16-year-olds waiting to come in and play.

"I'm expecting us just to do the best we can and once we get into the Merit League, we need one more point from our last three games, I want us to go on and give a good account of ourselves.

"We take every week as it comes and we've been delighted with the progress we've made this season, we've only lost four games in the league and six games in all competitions.

"I can't complain with that."

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