After taking the lead when Keanan Bennetts’ shot went in off Villa defender Anes Omerovic, we allowed the visitors back into the game as Omerovic and Kianan Davies made the most of set-piece situations to put their side in front.
Aramide Oteh appeared to have salvaged a point for us when he buried an 87th-minute penalty, but Villa had other ideas and Callum O’Hare struck in the 90th minute to ensure the visitors left our Training Centre with maximum points.
Reflecting on the performance, Under-18s Coach Kieran stressed the need for improvement when it comes to keeping opponents at bay in different situations.
“It was disappointing to concede from the set pieces,” he said. “I thought we were in a pretty good place in the game, we’d worked hard to get the lead and played well in the first half but their first goal came from a wide set piece.
“When an in-swinging free-kick comes in like that it’s not easy, but I thought we should have dealt with it much better. Their second goal came from a really poor reaction to the ball coming back off the crossbar, but I thought it was a poor switch-off for all three of their goals to be honest.
“In the last few minutes we’d got it back to 2-2, everyone was obviously thinking about trying to win the game at that stage but we switched off and to concede a goal in the manner we did was criminal really, even for boys in this age group. It’s not something that we’ll accept and it’s going to have to improve.”
Kieran did feel there were some positives to take away from the game, however, and reserved praise for young central midfielder George Marsh.
“I thought George was terrific,” he added. “He was very combative, he competed well, passed the ball well and filled in at right-back for the last 20 minutes where he did well too.
“Some of our attacking play in the first half was also really bright but unfortunately we didn’t get the goals that we should have done from that first half performance.”