A third match in six days on LFE’s pre-season tour proved a step too far for Oldham Athletic and Cheltenham Town’s U18 sides yesterday.
Oldham went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Vitesse Arnhem while Russ Milton’s Cheltenham side were beaten 6-0 by VFL Osnabruck – with the score-line flattering the Germans.
Leading into yesterday’s games both sides had been undefeated with Oldham recording a win over Fortuna Sittard and a draw at NEC Nijmegen. Cheltenham had the chance to make it three wins from three games having beaten both NAC Breda and Willem II in their opening two fixtures.
However the effects of those matches showed at times yesterday with both teams failing to match the energy and concentration levels of fresher opponents.
Tony Philliskirk’s Oldham side struggled to get going after falling 1-0 behind to a Vitesse goal on 9 minutes.
And while Jack Truelove and Kyle Hardman both made useful contributions for the young Latics their Dutch opponents were more than their measure.
While Oldham’s defeat was by the tightest of margins, Cheltenham fell to defeat at the hands on an older and extremely effective VFL Osnabruck unit.
The Robins started brightly enough but with the game evenly balanced, a lack of concentration at the back saw them concede three goals in a fifteen minute spell just before the interval.
Russ Milton’s lads started the second-half in the worst possible manner, conceding a fourth goal on 50 minutes. And you sensed that it wasn’t going to be their day when Bobbie Dale’s well taken effort rebounded off a post ten minutes later.
A goal at that stage would’ve been no more than their play merited but as they continued to throw players forward Osnabruck capitalised, by adding goals number five and six on the counter-attack to leave the young Robins staring down the barrel of a score-line that was far from justified.
Cheltenham Head of Youth, Russ Milton was philosophical about the final score. Speaking after the match, he said:
“I can’t really have a go at the lads too much because for large parts of the game they were excellent against a top Bundesliga youth team.”
“A lot of their players were a year or two older than some of our lads and you could see that in the physicality that they brought to the game. We stood up to that quite well and had one or two chances but VFL showed that if you don’t take them – you’ll get punished by quality opposition. Though they might not think it now this is a great experience for the lads and one they can come back from stronger.”