Our next Youth game was the away trip to Macclesfield. The trip is a fairly long one but that’s nothing we’re not used to given our location and the geography involved in the Youth Alliance League.
Youth Alliance Match: Macclesfield Town v Carlisle United
We went down there with quite a strong side even though our top scorer Andy Cook is still out on loan. We were fairly confident going into the match that we could get a positive result and we set our team up accordingly. Unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances. We played with school boy striker James Reid up front, he put himself about and was unlucky but he needs experience and I’m sure that he will come into it more next year. Our first year striker Ryan Bowman had chances but it was another one of those days where it just wouldn’t come off for us.
We went one down to a similar goal that we conceded against them earlier in the season and that was really disappointing. We should really have learned from it but we didn’t and we have paid the price. They flicked it on from a throw-in and it bounced around in the area, and that let one of their lads nip in and put it away. Matt Duffy managed to get one back from a penalty with a spot kick that had to be taken twice but they scored again and we never looked like getting anything else.
The last twenty minutes was nothing football if I’m going to be honest. I think we’re definitely out of the title race now, but we don’t want the season to just fizzle away. We’ve played really well and it would be good to end it by winning the last four games. That’s certainly what we intend to do, if it’s at all possible. We have been too good a team to let it all fall to bits now so we’ve got to keep going.
When you think about it, it is only a few weeks ago that we beat Burnley. That put us in a really good position but it has all petered out for us now. The older lads have kept going but I think we’ve seen that the younger lads are starting to look tired. That’s exactly the way it was last season but it was me who was feeling it back then. It does happen, especially with a small squad, but that doesn’t stop us from being disappointed about the fact that we haven’t been able to cement our place at the top.
The lack of goals has been a problem recently as well. A few weeks ago we felt like we were going to score every time we went out on to the pitch. That meant, from a defensive point of view, that we knew that if we kept a clean sheet we would win the game. That has disappeared a little bit and we aren’t picking up the results. We need to talk about that and learn from it and hopefully we will put it right.
We had a really busy day last Wednesday. We trained as usual in the morning, and then we had an aerobics session. Claire, our instructor, is just like a machine, I really don’t know how she does it! It’s really hard work and the lads don’t particularly like it so we were all praying for it to finish within a couple of minutes of it setting off. It is difficult, but it’s good for everyone’s fitness levels and it does make us stronger.
After the aerobics we had time for a quick shower and change, and then it was on to a talk from Cumbria Fire Brigade on driving safely. Most of us in the Youth team have either passed a driving test or are learning to drive and it was a bit of a wake up call. The Fire Brigade demonstrated just how easy it is for accidents to happen and they showed us some of the things they have to deal with on the Cumbrian roads. It definitely made us all stop and think.
On Thursday the lads all went to Sheffield for the Progression 09 Career Day, but I missed out on that. I was called up to train with the first team so that was excellent for me. The day is organised by LFE and it gives the lads who don’t make it on to a contract the chance to look at what else is available.
The Apprentice of the Year award dinner is on Sunday and I am getting more nervous about it the closer it gets. I’m going home on Saturday night and then I’ll get the train to London from Preston at 9am on Sunday morning. I’m really looking forward to it but we will just have to wait and see how it goes.