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Forest 1-2 Spurs (FAYC) - Kieran's verdict

Posted on 18 February 2015  - 23:51

Kieran McKenna said he wouldn’t have been surprised to see us win our FA Youth Cup quarter-final at Nottingham Forest by a greater margin.

Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna at the City Ground on WednesdayZenon Stylianides holds off Luke Thomas

Two goals in three minutes from Kyle Walker-Peters and Ismail Azzaoui put us in command at the City Ground, with the team staying strong after Matthew Cash halved our lead with 19 minutes remaining – the tie ending 2-1 in our favour.

The result, which came nine days after our 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the fifth round at White Hart Lane, means we advance to the semi-finals, where we’ll face Chelsea over two legs.

Reflecting on our youngsters’ performance at Forest, Under-18s Coach Kieran said: “It was an excellent night.

“The boys encountered a completely different type of game to that which they experienced in the last round against Manchester United and I thought we dealt with Forest’s forwards very well.

“We were able to impose our style on the game, our top players were able to stand out individually and the match had almost all the elements we were looking for.

“At 2-0, to be honest, I thought we would go on and get more goals. Their goal came a little bit against the run of play, but at 2-1 there’s always a chance they could draw level and it needed an excellent block from Cameron Carter-Vickers in the last minute to secure the result.

“We perhaps should have got a third or a fourth goal in the last 10 minutes but we weren’t able to do that and in that situation it’s important that you step up defensively to make sure they don’t get back into the game. The way we saw the match out in the last 15 minutes after they scored was very pleasing.”

Reflecting on our FA Youth Cup run to date, in which we’ve seen off Blackburn Rovers, Wolves, United and now Forest, Kieran said he believes our youngsters’ performances fully warrant their place in the semi-finals.

“There are a lot of talented individuals in this group and I think the FA Youth Cup is a really good platform to showcase what they can do,” he added. “For them to have got to the semi-finals and to now have two legs to play at high-profile stadiums, it’s the exact type of experience we want for them. It’s a pressurised knockout competition with a big crowd watching, and it gives the boys the platform to impress and helps to set them up well for later in their careers.”