FA Youth Cup Match: Carlisle United v Crewe Alexandra
We played Crewe in the third round of the FA Youth Cup and we were all up for it. It was reminiscent of last year and we all wanted to get through to the fourth round and get a big tie. Unfortunately we were 1 – 0 down within 20 minutes and it became very difficult. There just wasn’t a response from the lads, and we were all a bit flat.
We conceded another couple of goals and I suppose you can say that they scored their second when we were pressing on. It came from a set piece so it was just unlucky really. They got the third when we left one man at the back so there wasn’t much we could do about that.
We were all disappointed but there is still plenty to play for with us going well in the League and Alliance Cup. We’ve just got to put the Crewe game behind us and move on.
Youth Match: Carlisle United v Rochdale
The weekend game was against Rochdale at Gillford Park. The pitch was very spongy and by the end of the game it was just a mud bath! To be fair, it held up well in the first half but it disintegrated after the break which made it very difficult to play on.
We did alright though, scoring eight goals, and some of them were real beauties. Andy Cook got himself another hat-trick and the other five were spread around the team, so we can’t complain too much about that. They did get one back late on, which was disappointing, but it didn’t really matter by then. With Burnley missing a game the result meant that we will keep top position throughout the Christmas period, so that’s something very positive to go away with.
On the 15th December I went up to Scotland to train with the Scotland U19s. We met at Hampden Park and it was great to meet so many new people. There were lads from Rangers, Celtic, Hibs… and other big Scottish clubs, and there were one or two from places like Newcastle and Burnley as well.
We had a quick training session once we were all together and then they took us boating which was a surprise. That was more a team bonding session than anything else. We had a meeting later on that day about the European Championships in May which got everyone thinking.
On the Tuesday we played head tennis in the morning and trained for an hour and a half before lunch. We also had a 9-a-side game in the afternoon which was a laugh, then we travelled back up to Hampden and I got the train back down to Carlisle. This meant that I was here for the Reserve game against Newcastle on the Wednesday.
Overall it was an excellent experience. I think there is another meeting in January, then a game against France in February, so it would be good to be involved with that if I get the chance. It was very cold up there on the coast of Scotland but I really enjoyed it.
Match: Carlisle United Reserves v Newcastle United Reserves
The Reserve game on Wednesday started really well. We were 1 – 0 up at half time and we were watertight. They weren’t getting through at all. I scored the goal which made it even better and we were all saying the same thing at half time – let’s just see this out.
We made a couple of changes at half time, with Peter Murphy going off and Jamie Cleary coming in from the Youth team. He deserved his chance as he’s been playing really well with the Youth team.
Unfortunately we fell apart in the second half and they beat us by 6 – 1. That’s something that we can learn from though which is what it is all about. They were a good side and we didn’t press the ball well enough at all.
As I say, for the young players like myself, we just have to learn from it and move on – but make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Our next Reserve game is against Sunderland in the same competition, so we have to go there and give a good account of ourselves. It’s definitely a game to look forward to and I’ll be talking about it in my next blog.