Match: Carlisle United Reserves v Blackpool Reserves
The next game I played in is the Reserve game against Blackpool. We played that on their first team pitch and it’s always good to get the chance to play on the main surface at any club. It was in very good condition, so that meant that we could play our football.
We had a young side out with me, Matt Duffy and Si Lakeland from the Youth team along side Grant Smith at the back. Conor Tinnion and Jonny Blake also played from the Youth team in midfield, and we all felt that we had a really good game.
We started off really well and were 3 – 0 up within seven minutes. The game was pretty much over and done with by then, so it meant that we could get the ball down and play a bit. It was probably one of the best Reserve games I’ve ever played in where everything went right for us, so it was a very good night for the club and for the younger players.
We conceded a silly goal where the ball hit a divot and bobbled over Chris Howarth, our keeper, but that was one of those really unlucky incidents that can happen in any game. Obviously we were all disappointed that we let one in, but it didn’t matter too much as we had notched up six goals for ourselves.
Youth Alliance Match: Carlisle United v Chester City
Last Saturday we played Chester in the Youth League and that was a bit of a scrap. The wind was blowing a gale so that made it difficult to even pass the ball let alone keep it moving where you wanted it to go.
The Youth team pitch is very open with little in the way of protection so even the slightest of winds can affect a game. When it is blowing like it was last week it becomes a nightmare. Mind you, it’s the same for both sides, so you just have to get on with it.
We battled through and we never really looked like conceding but it took a while to get our goal. Chris McDougall came on in the second half and managed to do that for us and that was very good for him. He has been looking for a goal every time he has played recently and we were delighted to see him get that one and win the game for us with it.
So, we took all three points but we had to work for it. In the end we had to really push on – Jonny Blake and Conor Tinnion went up front – but we needed to do that. The reward was the late goal and we needed it just to make sure that we kept the pressure on at the top of the table.
Youth Alliance Match: Preston North End v Carlisle United
Our next Youth game was away at Preston last Wednesday. There is no other way to describe what happened other than that it was really disappointing. We went one up and then conceded a bit of a sloppy goal from a defensive point of view. I thought we had chances to get back in front and Ryan Bowman had a couple of chances on goal but he was unlucky.
To be honest we kept plugging away but we never really looked like scoring. They got the rub of the green in the second half and took the lead with five minutes left to go. Deep in to time they got another and that just summed the day up for us.
We were all gutted because the defeat has probably brought an end to our title race. We have missed Andy Cook massively since he went out on loan to Workington, there’s no hiding away from that, because he scored a heck of a lot of goals for us. We can only learn from it though and make sure that we improve our attacking play.
Last Thursday Clem from Radio Five Live came to interview me for Look North, the regional news programme based in the North East. He filmed me in College doing a bit of academic work and then followed me to the training ground.
That was really good. I enjoyed doing the TV work but, given the choice, I’d much rather have had the win against Preston in the Youth game. It’s unfortunate, but we just have to move on and keep playing like I know we can.
On Sunday (29 March) I go down to the Football League Awards dinner in London so that’s something to look forward to and I’ll update you all on that in my next blog.