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ANDY AWFORD: "IT WAS OUR HARTLEPOOL AWAY!"

13 December 2016

Development boss hails his youngsters for battling through

Hatters Development boss Andy Awford was delighted his young side progressed past Non-League Stotfold at Roker Park tonight.

With many of the squad having played at Hillsborough last Friday in the FA Youth Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, it was a thoroughly professional performance on a completely different surface.

“It’s the same for both teams and you have to get on with it,” said Awford. “I know the gaffer said recently about the cliché of Hartlepool away on a Tuesday night. That was our equivalent tonight. 

“Can players do it in not-so-perfect conditions? Thankfully the weather was all right tonight. There was no howling wind or anything like that. The pitch was very difficult to play on, but that’s what it is. You have to get on with it. 

“It’s not always easy and not always like a carpet whenever you play in our first team. You go away to some places and it’s not great, so from that point of view, we said to the players today about the basics and making sure we got them right, and for the majority of the game we did.

“I’m pleased with that aspect of it, then two bits of quality won us the game, so I’m delighted with it overall.”

Zane Banton opened the scoring in the 51st minute and strike partner Geo Craig added a second to round off a crisp passing move in the 68th.

“We asked them to move the ball a little bit quicker,” said Awford of the second-half showing. “The lads were a little bit frustrated at half-time, but we asked them to stick at it and be patient, and I was delighted with both the front players because they worked hard tonight and deserved a goal apiece. 

“Zane’s was a good finish, but the second one was a good passing move and an excellent finish by Geo as well, then we saw the game out quite professionally as well. 

“They got back into it with a strike from the edge of the box which we should have shut down a bit better from a set piece, but then with five or ten minutes to go, the lads have shown a bit of maturity and have seen the game out well.

“Goochie has not had a lot do when a lot of people were expecting us to come under the cosh, so I am really pleased.”


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