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Alex looks ahead

Posted on 6 March 2009  - 12:00

Alex Inglethorpe insisted there was so much for our Under-18s to play for this season despite last night's heartbreaking FA Youth Cup loss against Arsenal.

Alex looks ahead

Alex Inglethorpe insisted there was so much for our Under-18s to play for this season despite last night's heartbreaking FA Youth Cup loss against Arsenal.

With the scores level at 1-1 and extra time looming, the visitors struck in the 90th and 92nd minutes to win the quarter-final in front of 19,084 at the Lane.

It's straight back to FA Premier Academy League action this weekend with a title to aim for - the lads are top of Group B, having lost just once all season.

However, as always, coach Alex is looking beyond that. "There is the title, of course, but some of these players are now ready for reserve team football and if it meant they did that and we didn't win the title, so be it - the players need the next challenge," he said.

"Whether or not that's reserve team football, a loan or even further down the line more first team experience, some of them are ready, so that's great."

Jon Obika handed the lads a dream start with the opening goal after six minutes and then missed a key chance for 2-0. Arsenal levelled six minutes into the second half before striking late for a place in the semi-finals.

"We couldn't have asked for a better start but in some ways that's perhaps the worst thing that could have happened, to score so early, because we were poor after that for 45 minutes," added Alex.

"We didn't pass the ball or control the game like we're capable of against a good Arsenal side who are experts at keeping the ball. Having said that, ironically, we had the best chance to to make it 2-0 - it would have been interesting if that had gone in.

"Arsenal scored but we then started to play again, Yaser Kasim came on and made a big difference and Andros Townsend was a constant threat, he was outstanding, the most eye-catching player on the night.

"To then lose the two goals so late on was heartbreaking.

"We very grateful for the support, a lot of people have shown an interest and made it a real cup-tie atmosphere on the night. It's just a shame we couldn't send them home with a win, especially against Arsenal, but hopefully they've seen that there are a few players here who might be able to kick on."