Clive Allen paid tribute to the work of lone striker Lee Barnard in the fine 2-0 win over Chelsea in our last reserve outing.
Last season's top goalscorer with 17 goals was handed the role in a re-shaped team in part due to tactics and also the absence of Mounir El-Hamdaoui through injury.
He responded brilliantly to the challenge and was involved in both goals, particularly the second when he shook off the attention of three defenders to provide Johnnie Jackson with a clear strike on goal.
"Barney didn't score tonight but he provided in an emphatic way for the second goal with his strength and a great turn," said the Development Coach. "He contributed to both goals by holding the ball up and had the composure to deliver the right final pass and Johnnie's goal was a wonderful strike.
"He likes to play with a partner and I said to him before the game that it was going to be down to attitude. He played a vital role for us.
"You know he will give you everything, he worked tremendously hard and it was a physical battle all night long. You could tell the frustrations their centre halves felt with his presence and it was an impressive way to lead the line."
Clive also reserved a mention for two of his other young players - defender Charlie Lee and midfielder Kieran McKenna. Lee, a member of last season's Youth Cup team, show the giant Jari Jarosik by regularly beating him in the air, while Kieran added a new zip to midfield after replacing Michael Brown for the second half.
"He is competitive and wants to win. There was one occasion in the first half where Charlie was confident enough to outjump him and win a clean header. I said he needed to be physical and he worked very hard defending in a concentrated way.
"Kieran is enthusiastic, his mobility gave us that tempo whereby when we closed down we closed very quickly. You could tell they were getting frustrated."